On June 27, 2019, the High Court of Frankfurt decided that a consent for data processing tied to a consent for receiving advertising can be considered as freely given under the GDPR.

The case concerned an electricity company that relied on consent obtained by another company to advertise its products and services to the claimant.

Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced the issuance of consent orders involving Creaxion Corporation and Inside Publications, LLC to settle allegations that the companies misrepresented paid endorsements as independent opinions, and misrepresented paid commercial advertising as independent editorial content.  As a result, these companies and their principals are now prohibited from making misrepresentations about the status of their endorsers, required to clearly and conspicuously disclose material connections with such endorsers, and are required to monitor their endorsers.
Continue Reading FTC Settles with PR Firm and Publisher Over Social Media Endorsements

Last month, a Michigan federal district court judge denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment regarding application of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) to “direct drop” voicemail messages (also known as “ringless voicemail”).  Emphasizing the “broad net” cast by the TCPA, Judge Gordon J. Quist of the Western District of Michigan held that such messages

A recent District of New Jersey case emphasizes that while, under the FCC’s 2015 interpretation of the law, a customer has a broad right to revoke consent to receive automated calls and texts under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”), the manner in which the consumer seeks to revoke his or her consent must be reasonable.

On November 27, 2017, a New Jersey federal judge dismissed a putative class action against Kohl’s, rejecting the plaintiff’s assertion that her sentence-long opt-out replies to automated text message “sales alerts” were reasonable when she was presented with other clear and simple opt-out mechanisms.
Continue Reading District Court Rejects Consent Revocation Claim Under TCPA

The Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), a consortium of the nation’s largest media and marketing associations that has established self-regulatory standards for online behavioral advertising, announced on October 13 that the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Direct Marketing Association will begin enforcement of the Application of the DAA Principles of Transparency and Control to

On September 16, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a workshop on the factors that may contribute to the effect disclosures have on consumer behavior. The workshop, “Putting Disclosures to the Test,” included speakers from a wide range of disciplines and industries, who remarked on aspects of disclosure such as consumer cognition, recognition, and comprehension, methodologies for measuring disclosure effectiveness, the impact of disclosures on consumer decision-making, and disclosure design.

In her introductory remarks, Lorrie Cranor, Chief Technologist at the FTC, espoused the benefits to privacy disclosures of studying research in other areas. Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the FTC, then opened the workshop with remarks on issues that are important to the FTC. The FTC’s primary task, she stated, is to ensure consumers have access to truthful and accurate information, to enable them to make decisions in the marketplace. Their focus, with respect to disclosure of information, is on the effect of disclosure on consumer welfare. They consider some disclosures necessary to prevent deception in advertising, or to communicate the risks of products, or choices consumers may have. With respect to privacy, the FTC encourages companies to disclose their data practices, so consumers have greater control over how their data is used. They require disclosures to be clear and conspicuous, so consumers can understand them and make informed decisions.
Continue Reading FTC Hosts “Putting Disclosures to the Test” Workshop

By Megan Rodgers

The Federal Trade Commission today issued an Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements.  The Policy Statement addresses occasions in which certain media outlets blur the traditional line between advertisements and editorial content, and seeks to clarify advertisers’ and publishers’ obligations regarding native advertising and social media.

Native advertisements can take a variety of forms, but all are intended to look “native” to the outlet in which they appear, unlike traditional display or pop-up advertisements.  As native advertisements have become increasingly popular over the last several years, they have also garnered the attention of the FTC.

In December 2013, the FTC held a workshop on native advertising and brought together academicians, publishers, and ad networks.  Around that time, industry groups such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the American Society of Magazine Editors created best practices in the area, and the industry anticipated that the FTC would publish additional guidance on the issue.

In a press release accompanying the Policy Statement today, the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich said that the “FTC’s policy applies time-tested truth-in-advertising principles to modern media.”  In addition to the Policy Statement, the FTC released an accompanying guidance, “Native Advertising: A Guide for Business,” to help companies understand and comply with the Policy Statement.  The guidance provides examples of when and how to make effective disclosures in native advertisements.
Continue Reading FTC Issues Policy Statement on Native Advertising

By Hannah Lepow

Yesterday California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris released guidance on how smartphone and tablet users can manage GPS and other location tracking functions on their mobile devices.

The brief information sheet, designed for consumers, details how Android and iOS users can control different types of location information on their devices, including

By Megan L. Rodgers

What information is being collected by mobile apps and websites directed at kids? With whom is that information shared? What notice is provided to parents? Regulators in the U.S. and abroad continue to focus on these issues.

The FTC recently released a follow-up report on privacy notices in mobile apps directed at kids. The report follows two FTC kids’ app surveys released in February 2012 and December 2012, and a campaign by the FTC to bring all apps in compliance with the revised COPPA Rule by July 1, 2013.

How did mobile apps directed at children fare? The results were mixed. The FTC looked at hundreds of mobile apps and noted that there has been “a step in the right direction” since their last survey, but the FTC was careful to point out that “there’s more work to be done.” In December 2012, only 20% of apps had a link to a privacy policy available to parents before downloading the app; today, the number of apps with direct links to a privacy policy is 45%. Although this is an improvement, the FTC said that for many kids’ apps, parents still do not have an easy way to learn about data collection and usage practices.
Continue Reading Regulators in the U.S. and U.K. Monitoring Mobile Apps and Websites Directed at Children

On July 1, 2015, China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce published a draft of the Interim Measures on Supervision of Internet Advertising (“Draft Internet Advertising Measures”; original Chinese here) for public comment. If adopted as drafted, the Draft Internet Advertising Measures would (1) require advertisements in email and instant messaging to contain conspicuous options for the user to agree to, refuse, or unsubscribe from advertisements; (2) require websites to allow users to block pop-ups for certain repeat visitors; and (3) require advertisements sent via email or instant message to identify the sender and be marked as an advertisement. Public comments on the Draft are due by July 31, 2015. Once finalized, the Draft is expected to come into effect on September 1, 2015.
Continue Reading Draft Regulations in China Preview Stricter Rules on Internet Advertising