On February 4, 2021, the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce held a hearing entitled, “Safeguarding American Consumers: Fighting Scams and Fraud During the Pandemic.”  The hearing focused on the FTC’s ability to obtain equitable monetary relief under Section 13(b) of the FTC Act – an issue that is currently being considered by the Supreme Court in AMG Capital Management LLC v. Federal Trade Commission.

To gain a better understanding of the deceptive marketing campaigns seeking to exploit the ongoing public health crisis and the challenges the FTC faces in fighting fraud, the Subcommittee invited Bonnie Patten, Executive Director of TruthInAdvertising.org; Jessica Rich, former Bureau of Consumer Protection Director and Distinguished Fellow of the Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown Law School; William E. Kovacic, former FTC Chairman and Global Competition Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School; and Traci Ponto, Spokane COPS Crime Victim Advocate at Spokane Community Oriented Policy Services.
Continue Reading Hearing on Consumer Protection During the Pandemic Focuses on FTC’s Equitable Monetary Authority

On 9 April 2019, the European Data Protection Board (“EDPB”) adopted new guidelines “on the processing of personal data under Article 6(1)(b) GDPR in the context of the provision of online services to data subjects.”

In general, the GDPR requires that processing of personal data be justified under a legal basis in Article 6 GDPR. 

By Mark Young and Tom Jackson

On February 20, 2015, the Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) fined Staysure.co.uk Ltd (“Staysure”), an online travel insurer, £175,000 for failing to protect its customers’ personal data.  In addition to technical vulnerabilities, the ICO took into account Staysure’s lack of security policies and practices when levying the fine.

In short, Staysure had failed to implement processes to ensure that key software updates were applied, leading to vulnerabilities in the company’s IT systems.  As a result, hackers gained access to customers’ personal details, medical data, and payment card information, including over 100,000 sets of credit card details relating to more than 90,000 individual customers.  These stolen details were then used in relation to more than 5,000 fraudulent transactions.
Continue Reading ICO Fines Insurance Company £175k for Data Security Breach, Criticising Lack of Policies

Earlier this week, the Huffington Post’s Jennifer Kerr reported on the practice of tracking of merchandise returns by retailers.  According to the article, some retailers track merchandise returns to identify “chronic returners or gangs of thieves trying to make off with high-end products that are returned later for store credit.”  The article notes that

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has signed a legislative measure [PDF] that amends the state’s 2004 Identity Theft Protection Act (the “ITPA”).  The measure, which was enacted to combat phishing scams and other online fraud, amends the ITPA in several significant respects:

  • The new legislation makes it unlawful to gather personally identifying information through e-mail, a website,