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Did Tower Records Reveal Your Personal Info?
Case is a costly reminder not to always believe the fine print
By Mi2N
(more articles from this author)
2004-04-24
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MTS, Inc., and Tower Direct, LLC have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that a security flaw in the Tower Web site exposed customers' personal information to other Internet users, in violation of Tower's privacy policy representations and federal law. The settlement will bar misrepresentations in the future, require Tower to implement an appropriate security program, and require audits of its Web site security every two years by a qualified third-party security professional for ten years.

The FTC alleges that, at the www.TowerRecords.com site, Tower's privacy policy made claims such as "We use state-of-the-art technology to safeguard your personal information," and "Your TowerRecords.com Account information is password-protected. You and only you have access to this information." When Tower redesigned its site, however, it introduced a security vulnerability that allowed Web users to access Tower's order history records and view certain personal information about other Tower customers, such as their names, billing and shipping address, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and their past Tower purchases.

The FTC complaint charges that the security flaw was easy to prevent and fix, but that Tower failed to implement appropriate checks and controls in the process of writing and revising its Web applications; adopt and implement policies and procedures to test the security of its Web site; and provide appropriate training and oversight for its employees. It charges that Tower's privacy policy assurances were therefore false and violated the FTC Act.

Related News from Mi2N:
» Tower Records Settles FTC Charges


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