Laura Kim draws upon her experience in senior positions at the Federal Trade Commission to advise clients across industries on complex advertising, privacy, and data security matters. She provides practical compliance advice and represents clients in FTC and State AG investigations. Ms. Kim advises on a wide range of consumer protection issues, including green claims, influencers, native advertising, claim substantiation, Made in USA claims, children’s privacy, subscription auto-renewal marketing, and other digital advertising matters. In addition, Ms. Kim actively practices before the NAD, including recent successful resolution of matters for both challengers and advertisers. She co-chairs Covington’s Advertising and Consumer Protection Practice Group and participates in the firm’s Internet of Things Initiative.
Ms. Kim re-joined Covington after a twelve-year tenure at the FTC, where she served as Assistant Director in two divisions of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, as well as Chief of Staff in the Bureau of Consumer Protection and Attorney Advisor to former Chairman William E. Kovacic. She worked on key FTC Rules and Guides such as the Green Guides, Jewelry Guides, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule. She supervised these and other rule making proceedings and oversaw dozens of the Commission’s investigations and enforcement actions involving compliance with these rules. Ms. Kim also supervised compliance monitoring for companies under federal court or Commission order.
Ms. Kim also served as Deputy Chief Enforcement Officer at the U.S. Department of Education, where she helped establish a new Enforcement Office within Federal Student Aid. In this role, she managed investigations of higher education institutions and oversaw issuance of fines and adverse actions for institutions in violation of federal student aid regulations. Ms. Kim also supervised the borrower defense to repayment division and the Clery campus safety and security division.
As consumers rely more and more on the “independent” reviews of their peers in choosing products and services, advertisers need to remain vigilant that their role (if any) in disseminating such reviews is fairly disclosed, accurate and not misleading. The pitfalls in this area were recently illustrated by a pair of enforcement actions brought by … Continue Reading
On May 5th, 2020, the California Assembly Committee on Privacy and Consumer Protection held a hearing and considered AB 2811, a bill that would amend existing California law governing automatic renewals. As currently drafted, AB 2811 would: require businesses to provide 3-7 days’ notice explaining how to cancel an automatic renewal offer or continuous service … Continue Reading
The Federal Trade Commission has traditionally responded forcefully to public health and economic crises, and it is doing so again in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The current crisis does present some additional complications, however, because of its impact on the operations of the agency itself. Three particular aspects of the FTC’s consumer protection-related response … Continue Reading
Last week, the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division (NAD) announced a new expedited process for digital advertising challenges. The SWIFT (Single Well-defined Issue Fast Track) Process will allow businesses to address concerns of transparency and truthfulness on an accelerated basis, with decisions rendered within twenty business days of case initiation. The SWIFT process is … Continue Reading
Cardi B might like it, but the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) did not. On March 5, 2020, the agency sent Cardi B and other high-profile influencers warning letters alleging that the influencers made inadequate disclosures in their endorsements of Teami tea. The letters followed on the heels of the FTC’s proposed order against Teami, LLC … Continue Reading
You may have heard the phrase “dark patterns” as shorthand for various user interfaces designed to influence users’ decisions. They can range from the perfectly innocent to the unethical, and even illegal. Whatever the form, dark patterns have recently drawn attention from the mainstream press. Dark patterns are coming out from the shadows. And when … Continue Reading
On May 8, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its first three cases that exclusively enforce the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA). Enacted in December 2016 to protect consumers’ ability to share their honest reviews, the CRFA prohibits companies from using form contracts that bar consumers from writing negative reviews or threaten them with … Continue Reading
Vermont and the District of Columbia recently joined the growing list of states that have enacted automatic renewal statutes. Automatic renewal clauses (“auto-renewals”) allow providers of goods or services to bill consumers periodically without obtaining express consent before each billing cycle. These clauses are becoming increasingly common for a variety of goods and services. Regulators … Continue Reading
Companies that offer or are considering subscription-based plans should take note that new requirements for automatic renewal offers (“auto-renewals”) take effect in California on July 1, 2018. California Senate Bill No. 313 (“SB 313”) amends existing law to extend additional protections to consumers where an auto-renewal offer includes a free gift or trial or where … Continue Reading
Last week, President Trump nominated four new commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”): Joseph J. Simons, an antitrust attorney, as Chairman; Noah Joshua Phillips, chief counsel for Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), for the second Republican seat; Christine Wilson, an executive for Delta Air Lines, for the third Republican seat; and Rohit Chopra, … Continue Reading
Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Education announced plans to hold a joint workshop on the application of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) to educational technology products and services in the K-12 school environment. In advance of the workshop, the … Continue Reading