The Electronic Privacy Information Centre (Epic) has accused Samsung of implementing software that is unnecessarily invasive, "depriving users of meaningful choice regarding the collection of their data".
Around 1.2 million people installed Samsung's Android-enabled Magna Carta app, affording them early access to Jay-Z's new LP. In order to install the programme, users reportedly had to agree to give up details of their location, phone call details, networks and other apps on their phones. They also had to sign in through Facebook or Twitter and give the Magna Carta app permission to post on their behalf.
As rapper Killer Mike put it, when he saw the app's privacy requests: "I read this and, 'Naw, I'm cool [without]' … I'm not comfortable with that."
In its request to the FTC on Tuesday, Epic asked that Samsung be ordered to "delete the user data that was improperly obtained" and, in future, collect only user data that is "necessary to run the app".
"Samsung failed to disclose material information about the privacy practices of the app … and failed to implement reasonable data minimisation procedures," Epic said.
Samsung insisted that its Magna Carta app is in line with other similar products. "Any information obtained through the application download process was purely for customer verification purposes, app functionality purposes, and for marketing communications, but only if the customer requests to receive those marketing communications," the company told the Los Angeles Times in a statement. "Samsung is in no way inappropriately using or selling any information obtained from users through the download process," it said.
In Jay-Z's Twitter Q&A last week, reporter Dylan Beyers asked him for his reaction to charges that his app was "invasive". "Sux," Hova tweeted, "must do better".
Magna Carta Holy Grail is currently the UK's number one album.
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image: © Joella Marano