IAPP-GDPR Web Banners-300x250-FINAL

Whether you’re checking your credit score while waiting for a flight or buying movie tickets while on your way to the theater, the last thing you are probably worried about is what kind of security tests your smartphone apps’ developers ran a year ago. If an established, well-publicized, highly rated app with millions of downloads and prominent data protection promises can’t be trusted to secure your information, after all, who can? And if your data is intercepted, it must be through some new, highly advanced cyber-attack, right? You might be surprised—or then again, maybe not.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently announced settlements with both Fandango and Credit Karma, whose smartphone apps contained the same critical security flaw: a failure to validate Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates, one of the most basic and well-established security practices out there. As the FTC put it, quoting the Android app developer guide, “An app that doesn’t validate SSL certificates ‘might as well not be encrypting communication, because anyone can attack users at a public WiFi hot spot … (and) the attacker can then record passwords and personal data.’” If apps as popular and established as Fandango and Credit Karma can have such glaring vulnerabilities—and they are far from alone—consumers might be wary of sending sensitive information over their apps.

As a result of the FTC’s enforcement action, it’s not just consumers who need to pay close attention to data security practices. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez warned, “Our cases against Fandango and Credit Karma should remind app developers of the need to make data security central to how they design their apps.” To help businesses and practitioners minimize their own regulatory surprises, the IAPP Westin Research Center presents the following in-depth case overview of the Credit Karma and Fandango cases. For more analysis of FTC enforcement actions, visit the IAPP Westin Research Center’s FTC Privacy Casebook: First Look.

Read More By Kelsey Finch:
The Evolving Nature of Consumer Privacy Harm
Cookie Monsters of Silicon Valley Come to Brussels
FTC v. Wyndham: Round One
Straight from the Pacific Ocean: A Tidal Wave of California Privacy Laws

Written By

Kelsey Finch, CIPP/US


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Advertise in IAPP Publications

Find out how to get your message in front the people you want to reach. Download a media kit now.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Registration Open

New! Intensive two-day GDPR training led by the sharpest minds in the field. It's a can't-miss event.

The Congress Is Cancelled

The IAPP Europe Data Protection Congress 2015 is cancelled. Click through to learn more.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»