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CA Legislature Passes Bill Establishing Online Protections for Minors

Last Friday the California Senate unanimously passed legislation titled, “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World,” which prohibits certain types of marketing to minors (defined as a natural person under the age of 18 residing in California) and allows minors to delete materials they have posted online.  The bill, which already cleared the … Continue Reading

Bill Adding Do-Not-Track Disclosures to CalOPPA Passes California Senate

Last week the California Senate unanimously approved a bill requiring that operators of commercial websites and online services that collect personal information disclose how they respond to “do-not-track” signals from web browsers and whether they allow third parties to engage in online tracking.  The legislation, which was introduced by Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, has been sponsored … Continue Reading

The DAA Principles Applied to Mobile: Key Takeaways

The Digital Advertising Alliance (“DAA”) recently released a guidance document titled Application of Self-Regulatory Principles to the Mobile Environment (“Mobile Guidance”).  The Mobile Guidance does not purport to establish new principles, but rather to explain how the DAA’s existing principles — the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising and for Multi-Site Data — apply to the … Continue Reading

Two New Decisions on the Wiretap Act and Secondary Liability

The last two weeks have brought two important decisions in the ongoing litigation over behavioral advertising firm NebuAd’s alleged use of a device to intercept data from ISP networks. Several ISPs allegedly permitted NebuAd to install an “appliance” on their networks in order to collect and analyze subscriber data for ad targeting purposes.  In lawsuits … Continue Reading

FTC Hosts Workshop to Examine Comprehensive Data Collection

On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a workshop to explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive data collection. The event gathered consumer protection groups, academics, privacy professionals, and business and industry representatives to examine the current state of comprehensive data collection, its risks and potential benefits, and what the future holds for … Continue Reading

Amazon Settles “Flash Cookie” Lawsuit

On Thursday, November 15, 2012, Judge Robert S. Lasnick of the Western District of Washington dismissed Del Vecchio v. Amazon, stating that the parties had reached a settlement, the details of which were not disclosed.  The suit had alleged (among other things) that Amazon used Flash cookies to backup and “respawn” browser cookies that plaintiffs … 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

FTC Schedules December 6 Workshop On Data Collection By Large Platform Providers

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will host a public workshop on December 6 to discuss the privacy issues raised by the collection of data about consumers’ online activities by so-called large platform providers.  According to the scheduling notice, the FTC seeks to explore the potential privacy issues raised by the collection of … Continue Reading

OBA Accountability Program Issues Significant Decisions

On Monday, the Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program, which monitors compliance with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, issued a decision finding that the auto company Kia had failed to adhere to the Principles.  The Accountability Program also issued decisions stating that Kia’s ad agency–and the ad network the agency had used to place … Continue Reading

FTC Approves $22.5 Million Consent Decree to Settle Charges that Google Bypassed Safari Users’ Privacy Settings

Today the Federal Trade Commission has announced its approval of a consent decree to settle charges 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 decree requires Google to pay a … Continue Reading

Microsoft Announces Design of “Do Not Track” Privacy Feature for Windows 8

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that users of Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 will have a “first run” option to disable the default “Do Not Track” privacy setting.  A first run option occurs during the software set-up process.  If users take no action, the DNT setting will be enabled by default. Shortly after the Federal Trade … Continue Reading

House Hearing Discusses Merits of Comprehensive Federal Privacy Legislation, Self-Regulation

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet recently held a hearing entitled “New Technologies and Innovations in the Mobile and Online Space, and the Implications for Public Policy.”  Much of the discussion focused on the relative merits of self-regulation versus the enactment of comprehensive federal privacy legislation.  (Separately, the Senate Commerce Committee … Continue Reading

What Happened at the FTC Advertising and Privacy Workshop? (Part 1 of 2)

Yesterday, the FTC held a public workshop titled “In Short: Advertising & Privacy Disclosures in a Digital World.”  The workshop explored whether and how the FTC should revise its 2000 guidance concerning advertising and privacy disclosures in the new era of online and mobile technology.   This post will highlight the morning workshop sessions on … 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

IAB’s Video Suite To Support Display of In-Ad Privacy Notices

The Digital Advertising Alliance’s Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising continues to gather steam.  Last month, after the Program garnered favorable mention in the FTC’s final privacy report, a representative of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (one of the DAA’s participating organizations) announced that the Program’s Advertising Option Icon is now being served in more than … 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

Court Won’t Undo Dismissal of in re Facebook Privacy Litigation

Last week, Judge Ware of the Northern District of California denied a motion to amend his November 2011 dismissal, with prejudice, in In re Facebook Privacy Litigation, a case in which plaintiffs had argued that Facebook improperly transmitted users’ personal information, including User ID numbers or usernames, to third party advertisers. In his most recent … 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

Amazon Case Dismissed; No Adequate Facts Pled To Establish Plausible Harm

The United States District Court for the Western District of Seattle recently dismissed an online privacy case involving the alleged improper use of browser and Flash cookies in Del Vecchio v. Amazon.  Finding that the plaintiff “simply not plead adequate facts to establish any plausible harm,” this opinion follows closely on the heels of several … Continue Reading

House Approves VPPA Amendment

Earlier today, the House of Representatives approved an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) (H.R. 2471) that would clarify certain ambiguities in the 1988 law in light of technological changes in the marketplace.  In his remarks on the House floor, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) – the primary author of H.R. 2471– explained that the amendment … Continue Reading

ECPA Class Action Settlement Overturned

The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s approval of a class action settlement last Monday in Nachshin v. AOL, remanding the two-year old case back to the district court for a new round of settlement negotiation and approval. No. 10-55129 (9th Cir. Nov. 21, 2011).  The class action was brought in 2009, alleging that the … Continue Reading

Web-standards group releases draft “Do-Not-Track” mechanism

The group that develops technical standards and guidelines for the World Wide Web released a set of draft standards on Monday that are intended to allow consumers to limit and control how they are tracked online. The standards, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (known as the “W3C”), would allow consumers to set a … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Flash Cookie and COPPA Claims

Online advertiser ScanScout has entered into a consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission in connection with claims it made that consumers could opt out of receiving targeted ads by changing their computer’s web browser settings to block cookies.  According to the FTC, these claims were deceptive with respect to the use of so-called “Flash … Continue Reading
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