Tag Archives: FTC

FTC Director Jessica Rich Discusses Privacy and Data Security at BakerHostetler Symposium

On February 26, 2015, Jessica L. Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, spoke at the BakerHostetler Symposium on Section 5 of the FTC Act on how the FTC approaches privacy and data security. Director Rich’s comments on this subject were particularly timely, with the Third Circuit poised to … Continue Reading

2014 Mobile Privacy and Security Trends and What to Look for in 2015

Most analysts and commentators agree that 2014 was the year mobile reached a tipping point.  With over 1 billion mobile smartphones in circulation, 2014 marked the first year that mobile Internet usage surpassed desktop use in the U.S. This trend will continue as users spend more time on mobile apps than on the Web. Mobile … Continue Reading

FTC $19 Million Settlement with Google: Unauthorized In-App Charges Are Not Child’s Play

The FTC recently approved a final Order resolving allegations that Google unfairly billed customers millions of dollars for unauthorized charges made by children using mobile apps downloaded from the Google Play app store. Under the settlement, first announced in September, Google will provide full refunds to consumers charged for purchases of items within mobile apps … Continue Reading

#Ubergate Makes Plain That Privacy Cannot Be a Passing Thought for Start-Ups

The long-brewing behind-the-scenes tensions of privacy, big data, and mobile finally came to a head last week in the public relations disaster known as #Ubergate. Uber’s meteoric rise to the pinnacle of the rideshare start-up economy has been fueled in part by its collection and usage of sensitive consumer geolocation information. An Uber executive’s recent … Continue Reading

Indecent Exposure: FTC Obtains Injunctions Against Debt Brokers for Improperly Published Consumer Information

On November 12, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the District Court for the District of Columbia had entered preliminary injunctions against two debt sellers which, together, had improperly posted personal information of over 70,000 consumers online. The FTC filed complaints seeking permanent injunctions and other equitable relief against Cornerstone and Co., LLC, and … Continue Reading

Mobilizing on Mobile Apps: The FTC’s Comment to the CFPB Signals its Priorities

In recent months, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has been steadily ramping up its efforts to monitor, regulate, and provide best practice guidance in the rapidly expanding field of mobile applications. On September 10, 2014, the FTC issued a staff comment in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) Request for Information on the … Continue Reading

Yikes, Yelp! Targeted In FTC’s Stepped Up Enforcement of Children’s Privacy – General Audience Services Take Heed

Signaling a predicted renewal of enforcement of the federal children’s privacy law following broad expansion last year of who and what is covered by the rules, the FTC has filed and settled two recent law suits against mobile app publishers, resulting $750,000 in civil penalties. Most noteworthy is that only one of the two is … Continue Reading

FTC Final Orders with Fandango and Credit Karma Provide Guidance on Mobile App Security

In August 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) approved final orders resolving its actions against Fandango, LLC (“Fandango”) and Credit Karma, Inc. (“Credit Karma”) for allegedly misrepresenting the security of their mobile apps to customers because of alleged security flaws in both mobile applications. Companies can look to the complaints and settlement orders for guidance … Continue Reading

FTC Testifies to Congress on Proposed Senate Geolocation Data Privacy Bill

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee for Privacy, Technology and the Law about proposed Senate Bill 2171, “The Location Privacy Protection Act of 2014 (LPPA).” The Act would prohibit companies from collecting or disclosing geolocation information from electronic communications devices without users’ consent. The Act would … Continue Reading

FTC Report Seeks Congressional Review of Data Broker Industry

As the advent of “big data” increasingly takes center stage in the data and privacy sphere, data brokers—companies that compile and resell or share consumers’ personal data—have come under increased scrutiny.  On May 27, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a report titled “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability,” as part of … Continue Reading

FTC Workshop Addresses New Data Privacy Issues Concerning Consumer Generated Health Data

On May 7, 2014, the FTC hosted the latest seminar in their Spring Privacy Series to address the status of Consumer Generated and Controlled Health Data and relate results of recent FTC studies on the topic.  Consumers are embracing new technologies, particularly in the fitness domain and are generating vast amounts of “health data” both … Continue Reading

Snapchat Settlement Signals Greater FTC Scrutiny for Tech Start-Up Privacy Policies

By now, you have probably heard about the FTC’s recent settlement with Snapchat, the popular mobile photo and video messaging service, over allegations that it deceived consumers with promises about the disappearing nature of messages sent through its service.  It did not take long for major media outlets to cover the story, highlighting both consumer … Continue Reading

Native Advertising, the First Amendment and the FTC

Editor’s Note: This blog post is a joint submission with BakerHostetler’s IP Intelligence blog. Partner Fernando A. Bohorquez, Jr. and Associate Alan Pate today published “All Native Advertising is Not Equal — Why that Matters Under the First Amendment and Why it Should Matter to the FTC” in the Media Law Resource Center’s MLRC Bulletin: Legal … Continue Reading

The FTC Takes a Closer Look at Alternative Scoring Products

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a panel discussion, in late March on “Alternative Scoring Products” as part its 2014 Spring Privacy Series, signaling the Commission’s increased attention on this burgeoning industry. The FTC has indicated that its “goal is to study what is happening in the alternative scoring space, what may be on the horizon … Continue Reading

FTC Reaches $32.5 Million Settlement Agreement with Apple, Inc. Over Deceptive Billing Practices in Mobile Apps for Children

The Federal Trade Commission announced its sizeable settlement agreement with Apple, Inc. on Wednesday, over allegations that the company had violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act by billing consumers millions of dollars for in-app purchases made by children on Apple devices without parental consent.  Apple agreed to fully refund affected consumers, paying … Continue Reading

Careful! Your Company May Be a Defacto Data Broker: Are Privacy Regulators Going for Broke(rs) as part of the 2014 Legislative and Privacy Enforcement Agenda?

Concerns about privacy practices in the data broker industry, and the privacy implications about the lack of transparency “behind-the-scenes,” will remain a topic of intense regulatory and legislative focus in 2014.   The Federal Trade Commission has defined “data brokers” as companies that collect personal information about consumers from a variety of public and non-public sources … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Complaint Alleging LabMD Failed to Protect Consumer Privacy

Authorship credit:  Tina U. Amin FTC Complaint Alleges Disclosure of Medical and Other Sensitive Information over Peer-to-Peer Network and Alleges Identity Thieves may have Obtained Sensitive Information In August 2013, the Federal Trade Commission filed a petition in federal court to investigate Atlanta based medical testing laboratory LabMD, Inc. on suspicion that the company failed … Continue Reading

Health Plan Settles HHS OCR Investigation Related to Photocopier Breach for $1.2m

The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) today announced its 4th resolution agreement of 2013.  Affinity Health Plan, Inc., a not-for-profit managed care plan serving the New York metropolitan area, has agreed to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules for $1,215,780.  The resolution agreement relates … Continue Reading

Mobile Apps and Websites Face New COPPA Requirements Starting July 1

Authored by Benjamin D. Pergament In one month, on July 1, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission’s most recent amendments to its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (“COPPA Rule”) will go into effect. These changes include a variety of requirements intended to keep up with advances in technology and how children interact with mobile apps … Continue Reading

The New FTC Dot Com Disclosures – the FTC Updates its Digital Advertising Guidelines for the Twitter and Facebook Age

In what seems like a lifetime ago –and in the fast moving world of the Internet maybe it is –  in May 2000 the Federal Trade Commission issued “Dot Com Disclosures: Information about Online Advertising” to provide guidelines on the applicability of the FTC’s rules to online activities. Back then, the top of mind issues … Continue Reading

FTC Final Order Prohibits Epic Marketplace From “History Sniffing”

Authored by: Elizabeth Stamoulis The FTC recently approved a final order settling charges against Epic Marketplace, Inc. (“Epic”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Epic Media Group, LLC. This action against Epic is another step in the FTC’s continuing efforts to limit the use of online tracking technologies, previously discussed on this blog here and here. In … Continue Reading

FTC Settlement Restricts Use of Web Tracking Technology

Co-authored by: Elizabeth Stamoulis On February 20th, after a period for public comment, the FTC approved a final order settling charges against Compete, Inc., a market research company that collects online data for the purpose of developing and selling reports about consumer behavior on the Internet. The action demonstrates the FTC’s continuing concern about online … Continue Reading

FTC Announces New COPPA Enforcement Action & Mobile Privacy Staff Report

At a press conference this morning, outgoing FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz announced an $800,000 settlement of its recent enforcement action against Path, the operator of a social networking app. The Path mobile app allowed users, including children, to create and share journals across their social network. The FTC had alleged violations of the Children’s Online … Continue Reading

FTC Amends Its COPPA Rule to Protect Children Online After Technology Advances In Gathering Their Personal Information

Technology advances often help consumers do things quicker or easier.  For regulators and law enforcers, such advances often present challenges in keeping laws and regulations up to date. The latest example is amendments announced by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) on December 19, 2012, to update its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule, which … Continue Reading
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