Tag Archives: FTC

$5 billion Federal Trade Commission settlement with Facebook represents largest privacy enforcement penalty ever

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent $5 billion settlement with Facebook is unprecedented in multiple respects: The $5 billion penalty represents the largest privacy and data security settlement in history – it is almost 20 times larger than the recent Equifax Inc. settlement and dwarfs recent EU data protection enforcement actions. As part of the … Continue Reading

FTC and state law enforcement officials step up efforts against illegal telemarketing

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a joint state-and-federal initiative, “Operation Call It Quits,” which targets illegal telemarketing practices that violate the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). The TSR, which applies to interstate telephonic marketing communications intended to “induce the purchase of goods or services or a charitable contribution,” makes it illegal to engage in “abusive” acts and … Continue Reading

FTC settlement and warning letters over cross-border personal data transfers

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recently announced settlement with background check provider SecurTest, Inc. shows the agency remains vigilant regarding businesses’ claims that they comply with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework (Privacy Shield). Privacy Shield provides U.S. businesses with a legally recognized mechanism for receiving personal data in the United States from the EU. In … Continue Reading

Transparency requirements for influencers in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States

They are the stars of the young generation, brand ambassadors for organizations and leaders on social media: influencers. With their strong presence on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, influencers have a power that pays off. Thousands of users follow the day-to-day posts of their role models. Influencers are becoming increasingly important … Continue Reading

Algorithmic Accountability Act proposed by U.S. lawmakers

On April 10, U.S. lawmakers introduced the Algorithmic Accountability Act (the AAA). The AAA empowers the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate regulations requiring covered entities to conduct impact assessments of algorithmic “automated decision systems” (including machine learning and artificial intelligence) to evaluate their “accuracy, fairness, bias, discrimination, privacy and security.” The bill is evocative … Continue Reading

In privacy we (anti)trust: Regulators worldwide consider competition law as tool for consumer protection

On February 26, 2019, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Competition announced a new Technology Task Force, which will monitor anticompetitive conduct in U.S. technology markets “to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition.” With the consumer protection agency already a chief arbiter of privacy enforcement in the tech sector, the new task … Continue Reading

Rise of AI poses new regulatory challenges

Companies that employ algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in their day-to-day business may face increased attention from federal antitrust and consumer protection regulators in the future. On November 13–14,  the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) addressed this topic in their hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” The panelists, an assembly … Continue Reading

FTC continues aggressive enforcement of Privacy Shield

On Thursday, September 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced settlements with four companies, IDmission, LLC, mResource LLC (doing business as Loop Works, LLC), SmartStart Employment Screening, Inc., and VenPath, Inc., following allegations that the companies falsely claimed to be certified under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. Specifically, the FTC alleged that IDmission, LLC misrepresented participation … Continue Reading

AGs emphasize consumer protection and privacy expertise in FTC comments

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be holding a series of hearings this fall on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century,” with the goal of reflecting on the agency’s powers, and state attorneys general (AGs) want to make sure their voices are heard. A bipartisan group of 29 state AGs filed comments with … Continue Reading

FTC report looks to improve mobile device security for businesses

On February 28, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report about security update practices for businesses providing mobile phones and other connected devices. The report recommends that manufacturers and carriers provide security updates that are consistent with consumer expectations, provide better information regarding their security practices and educate consumers on their role in … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit calls common carrier exception “activity-based”

On February 26, 2018, an en banc federal appeals court held that the common carrier exception in the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act that preempts FTC jurisdiction is “activity-based” rather than “status-based” and therefore applies only to the extent an entity engages in common-carrier services. See FTC v. AT&T Mobility LLC, No. 15-16585, D.C. No. … Continue Reading

Utah AG and FTC Associate Director discuss emerging regulatory and enforcement trends at Reed Smith

The International Association of Privacy Professionals and Reed Smith’s Washington, D.C. office co-hosted the Association’s KnowledgeNet Chapter meeting, “Key Federal and State Regulatory and Enforcement Trends in Privacy to Watch in 2018 – Direct from the Regulators” on February 27, 2018. Reed Smith partner Divonne Smoyer moderated a panel discussion featuring Utah Attorney General Sean … Continue Reading

The FTC’s black-box determination of information’s sensitivity imperils First Amendment and due-process rights

A Washington Legal Foundation legal opinion titled “The FTC’s Black-Box Determination of Information’s Sensitivity Imperils First Amendment and Due-Process Rights” and written by Gerry Stegmaier, Wendell Bartnick, and Kelley Chittenden illustrates the troubling fact that although businesses are tasked with implementing “reasonable” data security that hinges, in part, on the sensitivity of information, the Federal … Continue Reading

Warning light: The FTC is monitoring the connected car marketplace

In a recently published “Staff Perspective,” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) appears to be staying true to the regulatory humility approach Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen underscored in her opening remarks to the connected cars and autonomous vehicles workshop the FTC co-hosted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last summer. The Consumer Protection … Continue Reading

Sears Petitions to Change Its 8-Year-Old FTC Privacy Settlement Order

On October 30, 2017, Sears Holding Management Corporation (“Sears”) petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to reopen and modify the settlement to which they agreed in 2009.  At that time, Sears agreed to a consent order to resolve the FTC’s complaint that Sears allegedly did not adequately disclose the scope of its collection of “online … Continue Reading

President Trump Nominates Joseph Simons to Lead FTC

On October 19, President Trump formally announced his nomination of Joseph Simons to serve as Federal Trade Commission Chair for a seven-year term. Simons would assume the chairmanship of the agency in lieu of Acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen, who took the position last January and is expected to remain with the Commission until the expiration … Continue Reading

Compliance with COPPA: So easy, even a kid can do it

The Federal Trade Commission has published a new guide that seeks to make compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Drawing from its detailed FAQs, the FTC has developed an even more streamlined, six-step DIY instruction manual designed for busy businesses that want a … Continue Reading

State Attorneys General Gather to Discuss Privacy Enforcement

A panel at a meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General highlighted data breaches and privacy in the context of new technology, signalling that state regulators are focused on consumer protection in this area. The panel at the Southern Regional Meeting in Charlottesville on April 4 was devoted to emerging technologies, privacy concerns, and … Continue Reading

Vizio Settlement with FTC May Signal Future Direction of Agency Enforcement

The Federal Trade Commission’s recent settlement with VIZIO, Inc., may have created a new definition of “sensitive information” that includes viewing data, but the opinion of Acting Chairperson Maureen Ohlhausen may provide further insight on how the agency will act under the new administration. On February 6, the FTC settled charges with VIZIO, one of the … Continue Reading

Advertising Law 2016: Top 5 Trending Topics

Jason Gordon and Michael Strauss penned an article for Law360 about the top five trends that dominated advertising law in 2016.  The article discusses core advertising industry issues such as media transparency, SAG-AFTRA, Federal Trade Commission enforcement efforts, and the gamification of mobile apps. To find out more, click here.… Continue Reading

Facebook Implements Additional Measures to Prevent Discriminatory Practices in Targeted Advertisements

Responding to news reports that journalists were able to purchase advertising on Facebook targeted to ethnic groups, Facebook announced several new changes to the company’s advertising products. The move highlights heightened scrutiny of advertising practices surrounding the increasing use of big data in many aspects of marketing and advertising. Facebook’s response grew out of a … Continue Reading

FTC Penalties Will More Than Double in August

Wages may be stagnant in the United States, but one thing on the rise is the price of getting on the wrong side of the Federal Trade Commission. Effective August 1, 2016, the maximum civil penalty dollar amount  for violating section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, or failing to comply with COPPA or … Continue Reading

The FCC’s Broadband Privacy Proposal – Hit from All Sides

Initial comments are due on May 27, 2016 regarding the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released last month by the FCC in its broadband privacy proceeding. The rules proposed in the NPRM have already been the subject of contentious discussions throughout the federal government and the communications industry. Those discussions included a hearing earlier this month … Continue Reading
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