FTC approves settlement with HTC over logging software

In late February the FTC and HTC came to a tentative settlement over the manufacturer's poorly secured software, which included HTC Loggers. The commission voted three to none, with one commissioner recused, to require the company to patch the vulnerabilities and develop a security program that would undergo an independent assessment every other year for the next two decades. The American arm of HTC will also be watched closely regarding its security and consumer privacy claims. Any statements that are found to be false or misleading could lead to fines of up to $16,000 per violation. With the public comment period closed, the FTC has cleared the last hurdle to enforcing the settlement. Let's just hope others are taking heed, last thing we need is second round of electronic privacy scandals. Oh, wait...

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FTC Approves Final Order Settling Charges Against HTC America Inc.
Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order settling charges that HTC America Inc. failed to take reasonable steps to secure the software it developed for its smartphones and tablet computers, introducing security flaws that placed sensitive information about millions of consumers at risk.

The settlement with HTC America, announced by the FTC in February 2013, requires the company to develop and release software patches to fix vulnerabilities in millions of the company's devices. The company is also required to establish a comprehensive security program designed to address security risks during the development of HTC devices and to undergo independent security assessments every other year for the next 20 years.

In addition, the settlement prohibits HTC America from making any false or misleading statements about the security and privacy of consumers' data on HTC devices. Violations of the consent order may be subject to civil penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.

The Commission vote approving the final order and letters to members of the public who commented on it was 3-0-1, with Commissioner Ohlhausen recused. (FTC File No. 122-3049; the staff contact is Nithan Sannappa, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3185.)

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