Privacy Group Wants Jay-Z Samsung App Investigated

Organization claims MCHG release caused invasion of user information.

Posted: 07/16/2013 02:07 PM EDT
Jay-Z

Jay-Z was too busy constructing his blueprint of "new rules" to worry about the fine print, so says a privacy group. The Los Angeles Times reports that Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Jay's Samsung deal on grounds that the mobile giant deceived over a million customers with the July 4 digital debut of Magna Carta Holy Grail.

EPIC accuses Samsung of withholding "material information" about the app and accessing users' personal records. “Samsung failed to disclose material information about the privacy practices of the App, collected data unnecessary to the functioning of the Magna Carta App, deprived users of meaningful choice regarding the collection of their data, interfered with device functionality, and failed to implement reasonable data minimization procedures,” the complaint stated.

1.2 million people used their Samsung Galaxy phones to download MCHG three days before its official release date. Accessing the app meant signing in via Facebook or Twitter and allowing Samsung to view  locations, phone books, networks, call logs and other personal user information.

In addition to social media, the application asked permission to post messages on users' behalf, none of which is uncommon according to Samsung. "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 said in a statement. "Samsung is in no way inappropriately using or selling any information obtained from users through the download process."

EPIC believes the privacy breach was "unnecessary" in the case of MCHG and wants the FTC to make Samsung "delete the user data that was improperly obtained." The request could spell an uphill battle. "People may believe it’s intrusive," noted attorney Jeremiah Reynolds. "But as long is it’s correctly described and as long as the people give consent, I don’t see what the issue is.”

Samsung paid $5 an album to give out the release, which topped UK charts and is expected to hold the same rank stateside. Despite mixed reviews, the sheer influence of Hovito's braggadocious lifestyle as heard on the likes of "Tom Ford" is forcast to push an additional 450,000 to 500,000 copies of the album, even after its digital unveil.

Jay will embark on a European tour to promote MCHG this fall. He'll also be hitting the road for the U.S. installment of the Legends of Summer Tour with Justin Timberlake this week.

 

 

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(Photo: Courtesy Samsung)

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