Company Charged with Deceptively Tracking Consumers Online and Through Mobile Devices Settles with FTC

Turn used unique identifiers to track tens of millions of Verizon Wireless customers even after they blocked or deleted cookies from websites

Company Charged with Deceptively Tracking Consumers Online and Through Mobile Devices Settles with FTC
Image: Pixabay
April 28, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a final settlement with a Redwood City, California company over charges that it deceived consumers by tracking them online and through their mobile applications even after consumers took steps to opt out of such tracking.

Turn Inc.—a company that enables sellers to target digital advertisements to consumers—agreed in December 2016 to settle FTC charges that it misrepresented the extent to which it continued to track consumers even after they opted-out of such tracking.

According to the FTC, the company's privacy policy told consumers they could block targeted advertising by using their web browser's settings to block or limit cookies.

The agency's complaint alleges, however, that Turn used unique identifiers to track tens of millions of Verizon Wireless customers even after they blocked or deleted cookies from websites. The opt-out mechanism also only applied to mobile browsers.

The FTC consent order bars Turn from misrepresenting the extent of its online tracking or the ability of users to limit or control the company's use of their data. Turn also must provide an effective opt-out for consumers who do not want their information used for targeted advertising and place a prominent hyperlink on its home page that takes consumers to a disclosure explaining what information the company collects and uses for targeted advertising.