Daily Management Review

App Annie to pay $10 million to U.S. watchdog in privacy breach case


The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that App Annie, a company that provides data on downloads and usage of mobile applications, agreed to pay a $10 million fine for violating the Securities Trading Act. The reason was the company's practice during which it collected confidential information from app developers and processed it into data for sale.

According to the SEC, App Annie told developers that it would not directly share collected data with third parties, but would aggregate it to build statistical models. Instead, the company used it without anonymization from 2014 to 2018 to improve its estimates for traders.

"App Annie and Mr. Schmidt lied to companies about how their confidential data was being used, and not only sold manipulated estimates to trading companies, but encouraged those to trade with an eye to those estimates," SEC director of prosecution Gurbir Grewal said. He noted that App Annie often advertised how closely their valuations correlated with the companies' actual performance and prices of their securities on the exchange.

In addition to App Annie, its co-founder and former CEO Bertrand Schmitt was fined. He was fined $300,000 and barred from holding top executive positions in companies for three years.

Current App Annie CEO Theodore Krantz told The Wall Street Journal that the company has not used confidential information to make estimates since he took office in 2018. "We believe that not doing it for three years has been an advantage for the company," he said. The company continues to rely on information from private companies.

source: wsj.com