The Center for Democracy and Technology, a privacy advocacy group said that the company has been using “unfair and deceptive business practices”.
The free Virtual private network (VPN) of the HotSpot Shields company had a good reputation in protecting the privacy of its users, but an indictment could put the application with more than 70 million downloads in the line of fire. The Center for democracy and technology (CDT) has stated that HotSpot Shields has been spying on its user’s traffic.
The accusation presented on Monday, 7 August says that usage registers are used by the company to inquire about users navigation data and identify other types of information used for advertising.
Lawyers filed a complaint after conducting a joint study with the Carnegie Mellon University Research Center to confirm that HotSpot Shields had been using “unfair and deceptive business practices”.
Although the service is supposedly anonymous, the complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States holds that many users entering a trade page were redirected to other pages belonging to Hotspot Shields partners.
The next step will be for the FTC to publish a response on the case and confirm that the prosecution has enough evidence to investigate the company.
Privacy protection, unregulated
the complaint has been presented after the United States Congress revoked the law on privacy protection on the internet, in force since the Barack Obama administration.
Since last May, the new measure allows internet providers to sell its client’s personal data online without the need for authorization.
A spokesperson for the Center for Democracy and Technology said at the time that the information that can now be marketed “is among the most private in a person’s life. Consumers should be able to control what companies do”.
The FCC and its Chairman Ajit Pai were compliant with the new measure, despite criticism from advocates of digital rights. Furthermore, the FCC faces another discussion about the neutrality of the network.
A reform of the open internet order that was proposed in 2015 would give power to ISPs like Comcast and Verizon to block or slow down the carrying capacity of their competitors.
Tech companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Google and Facebook have expressed their disapproval about the new direction that the internet could take in the United States although, to date, an agreement still has not been reached.