Archives: Federal Trade Commission

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FTC and NAD Actions Highlight Continued Scrutiny of Online Reviews

As consumers rely more and more on the “independent” reviews of their peers in choosing products and services, advertisers need to remain vigilant that their role (if any) in disseminating such reviews is fairly disclosed, accurate and not misleading.  The pitfalls in this area were recently illustrated by a pair of enforcement actions brought by … Continue Reading

FTC to Consider Changes to the Health Breach Notification Rule

On May 8, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued a notice soliciting public comment regarding whether changes should be made to its Health Breach Notification Rule (the “Rule”).  The request for comment is part of a periodic review process “to ensure that [FTC rules] are keeping pace with changes in the economy, technology, and … Continue Reading

IoT Update: FTC Settles with Smart Lock Manufacturer and Provides Guidance for IoT Companies

On April 6, 2020, Tapplock, Inc., a Canadian maker of internet-connected smart locks, entered into a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to resolve allegations that the company deceived consumers by falsely claiming that it had implemented reasonable steps to secure user data and that its locks were “unbreakable.”  The FTC alleged that these … Continue Reading

The FTC’s Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic: Consumer Protection Priorities and Initial Actions

The Federal Trade Commission has traditionally responded forcefully to public health and economic crises, and it is doing so again in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  The current crisis does present some additional complications, however, because of its impact on the operations of the agency itself.  Three particular aspects of the FTC’s consumer protection-related response … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Cybersecurity Advice: FTC and FBI Provide Guidance on Cybersecurity Scam Trends and Preventive Measures

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, several U.S. government entities have released warnings about a rise in scams and fraudulent activity connected to the outbreak.  In a recent bulletin, the FBI warned of a rise in phishing emails, counterfeit treatments or equipment for COVID-19 preparedness, and fake emails from the Centers for Disease Control and … Continue Reading

COVID-19 Cybersecurity Advice: FTC, NIST, and CISA Release Guidance on Secure Teleworking and Critical Infrastructure Jobs

In response to the drastic increase of U.S. employees working remotely, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) have both issued guidance for employers and employees on best practices for teleworking securely.  In addition, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) has provided advice on identifying … Continue Reading

FTC Sends Warning Letters to Teami Tea Influencers

Cardi B might like it, but the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) did not.  On March 5, 2020, the agency sent Cardi B and other high-profile influencers warning letters alleging that the influencers made inadequate disclosures in their endorsements of Teami tea.  The letters followed on the heels of the FTC’s proposed order against Teami, LLC … Continue Reading

New Bill Seeks to Impose Design Restrictions on Kids’ Online Content and Marketing

On March 5, Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the Kids Internet Design and Safety (KIDS) Act.  The bill, which covers online platforms directed to children and teenagers under 16 years old, aims to curb the time spent by these minors on such platforms and could dramatically affect advertising and influencer content … Continue Reading

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Proposes New Digital Privacy Agency

On February 12, 2020, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced a plan to create a new Data Protection Agency through her proposed legislation, the Data Protection Act of 2020 (S.3300). Under the proposal, the new agency would replace the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the “privacy cop on the beat.”  As such, the FTC’s current authority … Continue Reading

Kids’ Privacy Bill Allowing for Private Suits Introduced in House

On January 30, House Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced the Protecting the Information of our Vulnerable Children and Youth (“PRIVCY”) Act, a bill that promises to be a significant overhaul of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). Currently, COPPA applies only to personal information collected from children under 13 years old.  The PRIVCY Act … Continue Reading

FTC Summarizes 2019 Changes to Data Security Orders

In a recent blog post, the Federal Trade Commission highlighted three key changes it made in 2019 in its approach to issuing orders in data security enforcement matters.  As stated by Andrew Smith, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the blog post, the agency intends for these changes to strengthen consumer … Continue Reading

FTC Settles with Broker Who Allegedly Disclosed Personal Information of Yelp Reviewers

On January 6, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued a California-based mortgage broker for allegedly disclosing the personal information of customers who left negative Yelp reviews, and filed a settlement of the claims. According to the complaint, Ramon Walker is the owner and operator of Mortgage Solutions FCS, Inc., a broker connecting residential mortgage … Continue Reading

House Energy and Commerce Committee Circulates Draft Privacy Bill Expanding FTC Authority

On December 18, 2019, staffers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee circulated a draft of a bipartisan privacy bill.  The draft is currently unnamed and unfinished, but it lays out a comprehensive framework that expands both individuals’ rights to their data and the FTC’s enforcement role over digital privacy.  Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) and … Continue Reading

Democratic Senators Introduce the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act

On November 26, 2019, a group of Democratic senators introduced the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA).  This comprehensive privacy bill—sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Ed Markey (D-MA)—would grant individuals broad control over their data, impose new obligations on data processing, and expand the FTC’s enforcement role … Continue Reading

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
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