Archives: Federal Trade Commission

Subscribe to Federal Trade Commission RSS Feed

Privacy Shield Third Annual Review

On October 23, 2019, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its Report on the third annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”) (the Report is accompanied by a Staff Working Document).  The Report “confirms that the U.S. continues to ensure an adequate level of protection for personal data transferred under the Privacy Shield” (see … Continue Reading

FTC Reaches Settlement with Developer of Tracking Apps

On October 22, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission reached a proposed settlement with the developer of three so-called “stalking” apps that enabled purchasers of the app to secretly monitor the mobile devices on which they were installed.  Developer Retina-X Studios, LLC and its owner James N. Johns marketed the three apps—MobileSpy, PhoneSheriff, and TeenShield—as a … Continue Reading

FTC Settles Enforcement Actions Relating to Privacy Shield Certifications

On September 3, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlement agreements with five companies for alleged false claims of certification under the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield frameworks (collectively, “Privacy Shield”).  These settlements indicate that the FTC is continuing to actively enforce Privacy Shield commitments, as it has done with respect to several other … Continue Reading

FTC and New York Attorney General Reach $170 Million Settlement Against Google and YouTube for Alleged Children’s Privacy Violations

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the New York Attorney General’s office (“NYAG”) settled allegations against Google LLC and its subsidiary YouTube, LLC claiming violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and its implementing rule (together, “COPPA”).  The settlement requires Google and YouTube to pay $136 million to the FTC and $34 million … Continue Reading

The FTC Announces Consumer Review Fairness Act Enforcement Actions

On May 8, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its first three cases that exclusively enforce the Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA).  Enacted in December 2016 to protect consumers’ ability to share their honest reviews, the CRFA prohibits companies from using form contracts that bar consumers from writing negative reviews or threaten them with … Continue Reading

FTC Proposes to Add Detailed Cybersecurity Requirements to the GLBA Safeguards Rule

On March 5, 2019 the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published requests for comment on proposed amendments to two key rules under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (“GLBA”).  Most significantly, the FTC is proposing to add more detailed requirements to the Safeguards Rule, which governs the information security programs financial institutions must implement to protect customer data. In … Continue Reading

European Data Protection Board Releases Report on the Privacy Shield

On January 24, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) adopted a report (“Report”) regarding the second annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (“Privacy Shield”).  In a press release accompanying the Report, the EDPB welcomed efforts by EU and U.S. authorities to implement the Privacy Shield,  including in particular the recent appointment of a permanent … Continue Reading

Sights on Online Search Advertising: FTC Finds Practices by 1-800 Contacts to Unlawfully Harm Competition and Restrict the Availability of Truthful Advertising to Consumers

Last month in  In the Matter of 1-800 Contacts, Inc., the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) provided insight into the circumstances under which retail price competition may take place in the 21st century internet economy.  In the Opinion authored by Chairman Joseph J. Simons (“Commission’s Opinion”) the Commission decided that 1-800 Contacts, the country’s largest online … Continue Reading

FTC Solicits Public Comment on Identity Theft Detection Rules

On December 4, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it is accepting public comments regarding its Identity Theft Detection Rules, 16 C.F.R. Part 681 (the “Rules”), as part of a systematic review of the Commission’s regulations and guidelines. The review of the Rules is particularly noteworthy because identity theft is among the top … Continue Reading

Wyden Releases Draft Privacy Bill Increasing FTC Authority, Providing for Civil Fines and Criminal Penalties

Senator Ron Wyden last week released a discussion draft of a federal privacy bill that would amend Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act to expand the FTC’s authority, create significant civil fines, and enforce certain provisions through criminal penalties. The draft Consumer Data Protection Act is among a growing number of proposals for … Continue Reading

FTC Announces Series of Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection

Earlier today, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced that it will host a series of public hearings on whether “broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy.” FTC Chairman Joe Simons noted that “important and significant … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit LabMD Decision Potentially Limits FTC’s Remedial Powers

The Eleventh Circuit has issued its decision in LabMD v. FTC, a closely watched case in which LabMD challenged the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to regulate the data security practices of private companies. The Court of Appeals declined to decide that issue, instead finding that the FTC’s order requiring LabMD to implement certain data security … Continue Reading

Mobile Phone Manufacturer Settles with FTC Over Allegations that Its Vendor Collected Personal Data without Consent

By Melanie Ramey Mobile phone manufacturer BLU Products, Inc. entered into a settlement agreement with the FTC last week to resolve allegations that one of BLU’s China-based vendors collected personal information about its consumers without proper consent. The settlement agreement, which took the form of a consent order, applies not only to BLU but also … Continue Reading

Senators Klobuchar and Kennedy Introduce Privacy Legislation

On April 24, 2018, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Kennedy (R-LA) introduced the Social Media Privacy and Consumer Rights Act of 2018.  The bill aims to protect consumers’ online data by increasing the transparency of data collection and tracking practices, and requiring companies to notify consumers of a privacy violation within 72 hours. “Our … Continue Reading

Senate Democrats Propose CONSENT Act

By Alyson Sandler On April 10, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced new privacy legislation titled the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act.  In a statement published on his website, Senator Markey referred to the legislation as a “privacy bill of rights” and explained that “[t]he avalanche of … Continue Reading

FTC Grants Sears’ Petition to Reopen and Modify Consent Order Based on Changed Conditions of Fact

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) granted Sears Holdings Management’s (“Sears”) petition to reopen and modify a 2009 consent order regarding the tracking of personal information on Sears’ software apps.  We analyzed Sears’ petition last fall, which sought to modify the definition of “tracking application,” which triggered heightened notice and consent requirements under the … Continue Reading

FTC Issues Report on Mobile Device Security Updates

On February 28, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a report discussing security updates for mobile devices.  The report stems from information the FTC collected from eight mobile device manufacturers — Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung — and from information the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) collected from mobile carriers in … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Decision Provides Critical Win to FTC in its Authority over Internet Service Providers

In a ruling with implications for both net neutrality and privacy, the Ninth Circuit ruled en banc today that the common carrier exemption in Section 5 of the FTC Act is activity-based, reversing a 2016 panel ruling that the exemption was status-based.  Today’s decision bolsters the FTC’s authority to bring consumer protection (including privacy) and … Continue Reading

FTC Enters Into COPPA Settlement With Online Talent Search Company

On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) entered into a settlement with Nevada-based Prime Sites, Inc., doing business as Explore Talent, related to charges that Explore Talent violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  Explore Talent, an online talent search company, will pay $235,000 in civil penalties. According to the FTC’s complaint, Explore Talent … Continue Reading

President Trump Nominates Four New Commissioners to FTC

Last week, President Trump nominated four new commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”):  Joseph J. Simons, an antitrust attorney, as Chairman; Noah Joshua Phillips, chief counsel for Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), for the second Republican seat; Christine Wilson, an executive for Delta Air Lines, for the third Republican seat; and Rohit Chopra, … Continue Reading

FTC Releases 2017 Privacy and Data Security Report

On January 18, the Federal Trade Commission released its annual Privacy and Data Security Update, highlighting its enforcement efforts in 2017.  The report discusses significant enforcement efforts in the areas of privacy, data security, credit reporting and financial privacy, international enforcement, children’s privacy, and telemarketing.  The report also highlights the FTC’s efforts in advocacy, rulemaking, guidance, … Continue Reading

FTC Hosts Workshop Highlighting Consumer, Industry, and Law Enforcement Perspectives on Informational Injury

On December 12, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) hosted a workshop examining “informational injury,” defined by Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen in her opening remarks as the harm consumers suffer due to privacy and data security breaches. Chairman Ohlhausen emphasized three main purposes for the workshop:  First, to better identify qualitatively different injuries; second, to … Continue Reading

Key Information Security Pointers from the FTC’s Stick with Security Guidance

Earlier this year, the FTC’s staff released a series of blog posts entitled Stick with Security that updated and expanded upon the prior Start with Security best-practices guide for information security practices.  The Stick with Security series draws from FTC complaints, consent orders, closed investigations, and input from companies around the country to provide deeper … Continue Reading
LexBlog