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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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Senator Franken Focuses on Privacy of Geolocation Data

Among the numerous federal privacy and data security bills that have been introduced in Congress over the last four months, Senator Franken’s “Location Privacy Protection Act” (S. 1223) focuses specifically on the collection of geolocation data by covered entities through mobile devices.  The bill would prohibit entities that offer or provide services to certain mobile devices from collecting and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Reaffirms Application of First Amendment to Children

Last week, the Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchant’s Association case.  Justice Scalia, writing for Justices Kennedy, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan, held that a California law restricting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, and mandating “18” labels for such games, violates the First Amendment. The decision is not … Continue Reading

FTC Seeks Comment on Aristotle’s COPPA Safe Harbor Application

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) provides a safe harbor for companies that comply with FTC-approved self-regulatory guidelines.  Since COPPA’s enactment, the FTC has approved proposals submitted by CARU, ESRB, TRUSTe, and Privo, Inc.   Aristotle, which operates the Integrity suite of age and identity verification services, recently filed an application with the FTC to become an FTC-approved safe harbor program.  … Continue Reading

FCC Drafting a Report on Location-Based Services

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comment on the use of location-based services in connection with a forthcoming staff report.  Comments are due to the FCC by July 8, 2011. The agency also is teaming up with the Federal Trade Commission to host an educational forum on June 28, 2011, to help consumers understand the … Continue Reading

Senator Rockefeller Asks Mobile Companies About Children’s Privacy

Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, has asked Apple, Google, and the Association for Competitive Technology to respond to questions to help determine whether the applications running on their mobile platforms comply which the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA requires operators of certain websites and online services to obtain parental consent … Continue Reading

FTC Settles COPPA Charges Against Virtual World Operators

The Federal Trade Commission today reached a $3 million settlement with 20 operators of online virtual worlds.  The settlement is the largest civil penalty that the FTC has obtained to date for a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  The FTC alleged that the operators collected children’s ages and email addresses during … Continue Reading

Covington’s Lindsey Tonsager To Speak at the Privacy & Data Protection USA Conference

Lindsey Tonsager, an associate in Covington’s Privacy & Data Security Group, will be speaking on recent developments in the areas of children’s privacy and social networking at the upcoming Privacy & Data Protection USA conference.  The conference will be held at Loyola University in Chicago on Tuesday, May 24, 2011.  Government officials, business executives, sales and marketing directors, and legal experts will gather to discuss … Continue Reading

FTC Reaches Settlement with Online Advertiser Chitika on Opt-Outs

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it has reached a settlement with Chitika, Inc., an ad network that tracks a user’s online activities in order to deliver advertising targeted to the individual user’s interests.  In its complaint, the FTC claimed that Chitika made statements that (1) users could opt out of targeted advertising by clicking on an “Opt-Out” button and (2) … Continue Reading

Adobe Commits To Providing Users Control over “Flash Cookies”

Adobe’s Flash Player includes a local storage feature that enables websites and applications to remember consumer data, such as log-in credentials and form information.  However, media and data companies’ use of this feature, which is sometimes referred to as a “Flash cookie,” has been the subject of a number of recent lawsuits.  Specifically, plaintiffs allege … Continue Reading

Comcast/NBCU Commit To Limit Interactive Advertising in Children’s Programming

Earlier this week, Comcast — the largest cable operator in the U.S. — stated in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission that it would commit to limit interactive advertising in children’s programming as a condition of obtaining approval of its acquisition of NBC Universal.  Specifically, as long as they have control over the program’s advertising, Comcast and NBCU will not insert … Continue Reading

ABA Program on Marketing To Minors

Yesterday, the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law and the ABA Center for Continuing Legal Education sponsored the program “Marketing to Minors: Traps for the Unwary in a Rapidly Evolving Legal Landscape.”  Representatives from the Federal Trade Commission, Federal Communications Commission, and Gannett provided an overview of the current rules for marketing to children, discussed the … Continue Reading
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