Advertising & Marketing

On January 13, the FTC announced a settlement with WealthPress, an online service provider that recommends trades in financial markets.  The settlement resolved allegations that WealthPress violated both the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) and Section 5 by making false and misleading claims about how much consumers could earn with the company’s trading recommendation services.  The action is noteworthy for two reasons.  First, building upon the FTC’s prior MoviePass settlement, the FTC’s ROSCA allegations focus not on the terms of the subscription service offered, but rather on the failure to clearly disclose material information about the company’s services.  Second, this is the FTC’s first settlement imposing civil penalties for alleged earnings claims violations predicated upon a Notice of Penalty Offenses issued in October 2021.  The settlement provides for $1.3 million in consumer redress, $500,000 in civil penalties, and injunctive relief.

Continue Reading FTC Relies on ROSCA and Notices of Penalty Offenses to Police Deceptive Conduct in Settlement with WealthPress

On November 3, the FTC announced that it entered into a significant $100 million settlement with Vonage to resolve allegations relating to the internet phone service provider’s sales and autorenewal practices. The FTC alleged that Vonage violated both the FTC Act and the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA) by failing to provide a simple cancellation mechanism, failing to disclose material transaction terms prior to obtaining consumers’ billing information, and charging consumers without consent.

Continue Reading FTC Flexes ROSCA Muscle With $100 Million “Dark Patterns” Settlement with Vonage

On October 4, 2022, the EU adopted the Digital Services Act (“DSA”), which imposes new rules on providers of intermediary services (e.g., cloud services, file-sharing services, search engines, social networks and online marketplaces).  The DSA will enter into force on November 16, 2022 — although it will only fully apply as of February 17, 2024. 

Continue Reading EU Adopts Digital Services Act

According to several news reports in the past month of August (for example, Heise.de), the German Government is working on a regulation that will set out the requirements for so-called “consent management services”, which are services for collecting and storing the consent of website users to the placement of cookies and similar technologies.  These services would serve as an alternative to cookie banners.  Among others, they may obtain consent for several websites at once.  More specifically, dedicated software applications could enable users to replicate the consent provided on one website to other websites, therefore generalizing and sorting their consent by category of devices or websites.  Users would be asked to review their consents every six months.

Continue Reading The German Government is Drafting a Regulation on Cookie Consent Management Services

On September 7, 2022, the Brussels Market Court adopted an interim decision in a case brought by IAB Europe, the sector organization for the digital marketing industry, against the Belgian Supervisory Authority.  The authority had fined IAB Europe alleging that its Transparency and Consent Framework (“TCF”) violates the GDPR and that the organization is a (joint) data controller for processing operations performed by the users of the standard, i.e., publishers and adtech vendors. Under the decision, IAB Europe was also required to present a work plan to remediate the alleged violations.

Continue Reading Brussels Appeal Court Refers IAB Europe Case to CJEU

The EU is in the process of adopting the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Services Act.  Both acts include rules applying to online-targeted advertising, commonly understood as the conveyance of messages over the Internet directed at a particular group of people who are perceived to be interested in the message in order to advance commercial or other interests.  This blog post provides an overview of the existing and soon to be adopted EU data related rules applying to online-targeted advertising.  It does not cover rules relating to ranking systems.

Continue Reading EU Rules on Online Targeted Advertising

On June 14, 2022, representatives of the EU’s Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Network, together with several national data protection authorities in the EU and the secretariat of the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”), endorsed five key principles for fair advertising to children (see press release here).  These recommendations are based on relevant requirements

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it anticipates proposing a privacy rulemaking this month, with comments closing in August.  This announcement follows the agency’s statement in December that it planned to begin a rulemaking to “curb lax security practices, limit privacy abuses, and ensure that algorithmic decision-making does not result in unlawful discrimination.” 

A financial institution and its vendor recently reached a $50 million settlement in a class action lawsuit for violating the call recording provision of the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”).  The settlement is nearly three times the size of the largest previous settlement under CIPA, which provides for damages of $5,000 per violation.
Continue Reading Financial Institution Reaches Settlement in Call Recording Class Action

Early last week, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Congresswomen Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced a new bill, the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, which would prohibit ad tech companies and other advertisers from engaging in targeted or “surveillance” advertising.  Targeted advertising is defined under the bill as the dissemination of ads based