How an FTC Complaint Helped FrostWire Become Better

October 12, 2011 -

File-sharing software company FrostWire has settled its dispute with the Federal Trade Commission and called the agency's complaint against them as the best bug report the company has ever gotten. The FTC filed a complaint against FrostWire in federal court saying that it was disregarding the privacy of its users by making freshly downloaded files in the program publicly shared when completed by default. But the FrostWire team approached the court case in a way most companies wouldn't. The FTC contacted FrostWire in May, and by the end of that month it delivered a version of the program that complied with the majority of the proposed changes.

"We are software people, and saw this as a bug fix that happened to be reported by the FTC," FrostWire’s Angel Leon told TorrentFreak. "Nobody as far as we know ever complained for having finished downloads shared by default, to us it was a given of P2P, but now we feel better that users are in full control of what’s being shared."

While FrostWire users always had the option to prevent automatic sharing, some were blissfully unaware of it and left the program set at its default setting. FrostWire decided to become a BitTorrent-only client and shed the shared folder system.

"We actually made our software compliant by making the allegations irrelevant once we dropped Gnutella. Now there’s no concept of ‘shared folders’ anymore and it’s pretty clear where all files are saved, and if the user is seeding or not," Leon said.

FrostWire sees the FTC intervention as one of the most helpful bug reports in the company’s history.

"Thanks to this whole ordeal we made our application a lot better. In a matter of a couple of weeks, we had the last version of FrostWire 4.21.x fully compliant with the order, and then we just made the decision to go 100% with BitTorrent," Leon says. "With BitTorrent we feel that our users’ privacy is better protected than when we had Gnutella, and now they’re certainly immune to spam search results."

FrostWire also has an Android app that runs on a separate file-sharing network developed by the company. The company changed the default settings of that application as well so users have to opt-in before they share something. As a result, the number of shared files dropped dramatically, so FrostWire will soon turn the Android application into a BitTorrent client as well. The source of this new client will be released under a GPL license.

Source: TorrentFreak

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