The FTC published on September 5, 2012 guidelines for mobile application developers to assist them observe truth-in-advertising and basic privacy principles when marketing their applications.
The FTC released its final report titled “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Business and Policymakers” which sets forth principles that companies are recommended to follow with respect to their privacy practices.
Whether your six year old has hijacked your iPad again to rediscover the inexplicable joy of flinging birds with a finger activated slingshot or to harness her mighty math powers in the origami-paved streets of Umi City, children are tapping into the spring of entertainment and educational value offered by the mobile applications marketplace. Yet, according to a study issued last week by the Federal Trade Commission “Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are DisAPPointing”, the lack of privacy disclosures in these apps may hint at deeper laden privacy pitfalls which members of the kids app ecosystem may soon have to remedy.
FrostWire LLC (a P2P file-sharing software company) agreed to change the default privacy settings on its mobile and desktop applications and agreed to clearly disclose its applications’ content sharing options pursuant to a settlement agreement with the FTC which resulted from claims by the FTC that FrostWire’s content sharing practices violated the FTC Act.
Playdom, Inc., an online game company owned by Disney, and Playdom’s CEO, Howard Marks, agreed to pay $3 million to settle charges brought by the FTC that they violated COPPA by collecting, using and disclosing the personal information of children under the age of 13 without their parents’ prior, verifiable consent. The $3 million settlement is the largest civil penalty ever for a COPPA violation.
In a handful of cases, including two which were recently decided, companies have been thwarted in various, unexpected ways by the commitments made in their online privacy policies.
On March 9, 2010, the Federal Trade Commission and 35 state attorneys general announced a negotiated settlement with LifeLock, Inc. which resolves charges that LifeLock misrepresented the nature and effectiveness of the identity theft protection services it offers, and made false claims about its own data security practices. In the words of FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, “While LifeLock promised consumers complete protection against all types of identity theft, in truth, the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it.”
In a year when behavioral advertising was already expected to be at the top of the hot button privacy issues list, on January 13, 2008, the Center for Digital Democracy (“CDT”) and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (“US PIRG”) filed a document with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) urging the FTC to investigate online mobile… Continue Reading
Effective September 1, 2009, companies subject to FTC jurisdiction will not be able to make interstate prerecorded telemarketing calls to EBR consumers absent the prior express written agreement of the consumer. Effective December 1, 2008, any company that continues to make such calls must comply with new restrictions that will continue even after September 1, 2009 when prior express written consent of the consumer is mandatory.
Behavioral tracking of consumers online in order to deliver relevant advertising is a privacy issue that is receiving a lot of attention, and one that has been the focus of Federal Trade Commission and consumer group scrutiny. On September 25th, the United States Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on online privacy and received commitments from the three industry representatives (from AT&T, Verizon and Time Warner Cable) that if they do deploy technologies that are able to track consumer online behavior in order to tailor advertising, that consumers will have clear notice and a full opportunity to provide affirmative consent. None of the companies currently use such technologies in their roles as Internet Service Providers. The broadband providers challenged the rest of the online industry, including web site operators and application providers such as Google, to provide the same protections to consumers. Essentially, the witnesses called for an end to “opt out” when it comes to online advertising.
On July 17, 2008, the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee examined the practice of deep packet inspection (DPI), a method for networks and third parties to determine what information users (identified by IP addresses or random ID numbers) are searching for and accessing on the Internet in order to tailor more relevant advertising based on… Continue Reading
According to a proposed settlement announced by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) on March 27, 2008, discount retailer TJX will be required to implement a comprehensive information security program to remedy deficiencies in protecting sensitive consumer information. If approved, the settlement will resolve allegations that the company engaged in practices that failed to provide reasonable and… Continue Reading
On March 4 the FTC announced that a consent agreement has been reached in its 17th case challenging data security practices by a company handling sensitive consumer information. Goal Financial, LLC, a San Diego-based student loan company, has agreed to implement a comprehensive information security program, avoid future misrepresentations about its data security practices, and receive independent, third-party audits of its data security program every two years for the next 10 years. The consent order does not provide for a civil fine.
On December 18, the FTC announced a settlement in its 15th case (and its first in 13 months) addressing the data security practices of companies handling sensitive consumer information. American United Mortgage Company agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty for failing to implement reasonable safeguards to protect customer information and failing to provide customers with privacy notices.
FTC staff issued a statement today proposing four “self-regulatory” principles to guide businesses engaged in online behavioral advertising. FTC staff also seeks public comments on these principles as well as additional information on what other uses businesses are making of online tracking data. Interested parties can submit comments by February 22, 2008. The statement, titled “Online Behavioral… Continue Reading