On January 27, 2015 the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) issued a report detailing best practices and recommendations that businesses engaged in the Internet of Things (“IoT”) can follow to protect consumer privacy and security. The IoT refers to the connection of everyday objects to the Internet and the transmission of data between those devices. According to Gartner estimates the IoT services spending will reach $69.5 billion in 2015. The potential benefits of IoT growth include enhanced healthcare through connected medical devices, convenience and cost savings through home automation and improved safety and convenience through connected cars.
In April, Microsoft tried to quash a search warrant from law enforcement agents in the United States (U.S.) that asked the technology company to produce the contents of one of its customer’s emails stored on a server located in Dublin, Ireland. The magistrate court denied Microsoft’s challenge, and Microsoft appealed. On July 31st, the software giant presented its case in the Southern District of New York where it was dealt another loss.
The Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) and the Direct Marketing Association (“DMA”) are in charge of enforcing the ad industry’s Self Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising (“OBA Principles”), which regulate the online behavioral advertising activities of both advertisers and publishers (that is, web sites on which behaviorally-targeted ads are displayed or from which user data is collected and used to target ads elsewhere). Among other things, the OBA Principles provide consumers transparency about the collection and use of their Internet usage data for behavioral advertising purposes. Specifically, the “Transparency Principle” requires links to informational disclosures on both: (i) online behaviorally-targeted advertisements themselves, and (ii) webpages that display behaviorally-targeted ads or that collect data for use by non-affiliated third parties for behavioral advertising purposes. The “Consumer Control Principle” requires that consumers be given a means to opt-out of behavioral advertising.
Through its “Online Interest-Based Advertising Accountability Program”, the BBB recently enforced the OBA Principles in a series of actions—some with implications for publishers and some with implications for advertisers.