Lindsey Tonsager

Lindsey Tonsager

Lindsey Tonsager helps national and multinational clients in a broad range of industries anticipate and effectively evaluate legal and reputational risks under federal and state data privacy and communications laws.

In addition to assisting clients engage strategically with the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Congress, and other federal and state regulators on a proactive basis, she has experience helping clients respond to informal investigations and enforcement actions, including by self-regulatory bodies such as the Digital Advertising Alliance and Children’s Advertising Review Unit.

Ms. Tonsager’s practice focuses on helping clients launch new products and services that implicate the laws governing the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising and social media, the collection of personal information from children and students online, behavioral advertising, e-mail marketing, artificial intelligence the processing of “big data” in the Internet of Things, spectrum policy, online accessibility, compulsory copyright licensing, telecommunications and new technologies.

Ms. Tonsager also conducts privacy and data security diligence in complex corporate transactions and negotiates agreements with third-party service providers to ensure that robust protections are in place to avoid unauthorized access, use, or disclosure of customer data and other types of confidential information. She regularly assists clients in developing clear privacy disclosures and policies―including website and mobile app disclosures, terms of use, and internal social media and privacy-by-design programs.

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Covington Event: Insurance Coverage for Employment-Related Liabilities

Employees’ use of social media and other online services in their professional and personal lives has increased the risk of an employee bringing claims against a current or former employer.  In the past three years, for example, employers have had to defend against claims related to ownership of social media accounts used by former employees … Continue Reading

5 Privacy and Data Security Measures That Can Protect Your Company Against Trade Secret Theft

At a recent forum in New York, a team of Covington lawyers addressed the growing concern among companies that their most valuable assets could leave the building on a thumb drive in an employee’s pocket or be disclosed through an employee’s use of a social media site.  Addressing this threat involves many disciplines beyond trade … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Deception, COPPA Charges Against Social Networking App Path

Path, a social networking mobile app, has agreed to enter into a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) regarding charges that the company deceived consumers by collecting contact information from users’ mobile address books without notice and consent.  The agreement also resolves charges that the company violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) … Continue Reading

FTC Adopts Final COPPA Rule: What Businesses Should Know

The Federal Trade Commission has released its revised final rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), which governs (1) operators of websites and online services that are directed to children under the age of 13 and (2) operators of general audience websites or online services that have actual knowledge that a user is … Continue Reading

FTC Releases Second Report on Mobile Apps Directed To Children

The Federal Trade Commission released today its second report on mobile apps directed to children.  The report, which follows up on an analysis that staff conducted in February 2012, examined the privacy disclosures of hundreds of kid-directed mobile apps and tested the apps’ practices against these disclosures to determine if the disclosures were accurate and complete.   Staff found the results … Continue Reading

Court Approves $22.5 Million Google Settlement

A U.S. district court has approved the Federal Trade Commission’s $22.5 million settlement with Google.  The FTC had charged that Google misrepresented to users of Apple’s Safari browser that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted ads to those users, violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC.  The settlement is … Continue Reading

NLRB Finds DISH Network Social Media Policy Unlawful

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) continues to be active in considering whether companies’ social media policies run afoul of U.S. labor laws.  In the latest decision implementing the approach reflected in a series of NLRB reports analyzing employer social media policies under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), an administrative law judge found that it is impermissible … Continue Reading

FTC Proposes Additional Revisions to COPPA Rule

Earlier this morning, the FTC proposed additional revisions to the rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).  COPPA governs the online collection, use, and disclosure of children’s personal information by (1) operators of websites and online services that are directed to children under the age of 13 and (2) operators of general audience … Continue Reading

Study Finds Top Mobile Apps More Transparent About Privacy Practices

According to a recent study released by the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), the number of mobile apps with privacy policies has grown rapidly since September 2011. The study examined the top 25 free and 25 paid apps in the Apple iOS, Google Play, and Kindle Fire app stores, for a total of 150 apps.  Of the apps reviewed, the study found … Continue Reading

European Data Protection Supervisor Issues Opinion on Children’s Privacy

The European Data Protection Supervisor (“EDPS”) has issued an opinion on Europe’s strategy for protecting children on the Internet.  The European Commission consults with the EDPS on a variety of data protection issues.  However, the opinions of the EDPS are not legally binding.  Among other things, the EDPS expressed support for:  The implementation of technical tools, such as … Continue Reading

New Jersey AG Settles COPPA Suit Against Mobile App Developer

The New Jersey Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs have announced a settlement with 24x7digital, the developer of the “TeachMe” mobile apps for preschool through second-grade children, to resolve claims that the company violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”).    The state alleged that children were encouraged to submit their full names, along with a photograph, … Continue Reading

Federal Communications Commission Seeks Comments on Mobile Privacy

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has released a Public Notice seeking comments on the steps wireless phone carriers are taking to protect the privacy and data security of customer information that is stored on consumers’ mobile devices and on how existing laws apply to the carriers’ information practices.  Section 222 of the Communications Act and the FCC’s … Continue Reading

FTC Refers Children’s Privacy Case Back To CARU

The FTC has decided not to pursue an enforcement action against Clearwater Aquarium for alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection (“COPPA”) Rule.  In February 2012, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (“CARU”) referred the Clearwater Aquarium’s website to the FTC for review under COPPA after the Aquarium reportedly did not respond to CARU’s inquiry.  CARU … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Video Privacy Suit Against Sony

A judge in the Northern District of California recently agreed with the Seventh Circuit that the Video Privacy Protection Act (“VPPA”) does not provide a private right of action premised solely on an allegedly unauthorized retention of information.  Plaintiffs sued Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (“SCEA”) and Sony Network Entertainment International LLC (“SNEI”) for alleged violations of the … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Precludes Recovery for Mental and Emotional Distress in Privacy Act Claims

This week the U.S. Supreme Court held in Federal Aviation Administration v. Cooper that an individual harmed by a federal agency’s violation of the Privacy Act cannot recover damages unless he or she is able to prove an economic loss.  Under the Privacy Act, federal agencies are prohibited from disclosing “any record which is contained … Continue Reading

Do Not Track Kids Bill Gains Cosponsors

Over the last few weeks, a number of cosponsors have been added to the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011 (H.R. 1895), bringing the total number of cosponsors to 29.  The bill was introduced by Rep. Markey and Rep. Barton on May 13, 2011.  Earlier this month, the two members also hosted a Congressional briefing to discuss how … Continue Reading

Report Finds Advertising Companies Comply With Self-Regulatory Standards

The Network Advertising Initiative (“NAI”), a coalition of more than 80 online advertising companies committed to self-regulation, released a report this week finding that there is a high degree of compliance with the NAI’s Self-Regulatory Code of Conduct, which governs the use of consumer data for purposes of online behavioral advertising.   In particular, the report concludes that NAI’s … Continue Reading

FTC Report Calls For More Notice Involving Mobile Apps Directed To Kids, Warns Enforcement Could Come Over Next Six Months

The FTC staff released a report today calling for participants in the mobile app ecosystem — including app developers, app stores, and third parties who collect data through mobile apps — to provide better privacy notices to parents about mobile apps directed to children, and warning that over the next six months, staff will be conducting additional reviews … Continue Reading

California AG Files Suit Regarding Plastic “Biodegradable” and “Recyclable” Claims

Last week, the California Attorney General brought its first suit under California’s environmental marketing law, which restricts the labeling of plastic food or beverage containers as “biodegradable.” The Attorney General claims that a plastics company’s statements that its microbial additive results in the “first truly biodegradable and recyclable” plastic bottle and that the bottle will break down … Continue Reading

Right of Publicity Suit Against Facebook Dismissed

Last week, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed a putative class action against Facebook alleging that the company violated users’ rights of publicity by using their names and pictures for its Friend Finder service.  The Judge concluded that the class failed to demonstrate that they suffered any injury as a result of the service.  The Judge … Continue Reading

FCC Adopts Rules Implementing the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted rules implementing the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act. Like the Act, the FCC’s rules require elementary and secondary schools that have applied for discounted Internet access services through the FCC’s E-rate program to certify that the school’s Internet safety policy provides for the education of minors about appropriate online behavior, including … Continue Reading

FTC Settles First COPPA Complaint Against Mobile App Developer

Resolving the FTC’s first complaint against a mobile app developer under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), W3 Innovations, LLC, a developer of children’s games for the iPhone and iPod touch, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle allegations that it collected and disclosed the personal information of thousands of children under the age of 13 without first providing … Continue Reading

FTC Commissioner Brill Warns Enforcement Actions Coming for Mobile Apps

Speaking at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Toronto, Commissioner Brill informed the audience that “We will soon be seeing some enforcement actions on [mobile] apps.”  Commissioner Brill emphasized that Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices, applies to mobile applications and criticized many app developers for … Continue Reading
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