On Tuesday, January 27, the FTC issued a 71-page Staff Report on the privacy and security issues with the Internet of Things. As we’ve noted in our previous blog posts, the Internet of Things (“IoT”) refers to the growing ability of everyday devices to monitor and communicate information through the Internet. This FTC Staff
Snapchat Settlement with MD AG Marks Latest State-Level Privacy Enforcement Action
Last month, Snapchat reached a settlement with the Maryland Attorney General over alleged deceptive trade practices regarding Snapchat’s marketing claims that user “snaps” disappear forever. In addition, the Attorney General alleged that Snapchat had violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This settlement follows a similar settlement between Snapchat and the Federal Trade Commission, which we reported on previously.
After announcing the settlement, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler said that “despite Snapchat’s marketing claims to the contrary, no company can fully prevent content you send to someone else from being copied, shared or posted online[.]” Attorney General Gansler went on to state that companies operating online or through mobile devices have a responsibility to safeguard user privacy and to be transparent about the information they collect. According to Attorney General Gansler, Snapchat misrepresented to consumers that pictures and video messages sent using the Snapchat mobile application are only viewable temporarily, when in fact they can be captured by the recipient for future viewing or circulation. As a result of these representations, some Snapchat mobile application users may have sent pictures or video messages they would not have sent were these risks adequately disclosed. The Attorney General further alleged that Snapchat secretly collected information from users’ contact lists without their consent, and that Snapchat failed to comply with COPPA by knowingly collecting the personal information of children under the age of 13 without verifiable parental consent.
Continue Reading Snapchat Settlement with MD AG Marks Latest State-Level Privacy Enforcement Action
Get Your Docs in a Row: A Practice Tip for Promotions
We wanted to share the following best practice tip with our readers who conduct sweepstakes, contests, and other prize-based promotions: When conducting such promotions, we always recommend that our clients have the potential winners execute and return a set of verification documents before confirming them as winners. Generally, this involves having the winner sign an affidavit and release form confirming their eligibility, compliance with the official rules of the promotion, and releasing the sponsor (and their agencies and parents, subsidiaries, and affiliates) from any liability that may arise in connection with the promotion. In addition, if you need to conduct a background check on the potential winners before issuing a prize to them, you should have them complete a form authorizing you (and/or your agencies) to do so prior to obtaining any consumer reports from a consumer reporting agency. Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumer reporting agencies may only issue consumer reports with a consumer’s consent, or for one of the other delineated permissible purposes. Obtaining a properly executed authorization will not only allow you to conduct your background check more seamlessly, but it will also help to reduce the risk in playing part to a potential FCRA violation, which can result in high statutory penalties.
Continue Reading Get Your Docs in a Row: A Practice Tip for Promotions
Oklahoma Joins the Rapidly Growing Number of States with Social Media Password Laws
On May 21, 2014, Oklahoma enacted H.B. 2372, following the trend outlined in our earlier article on the growing number of states prohibiting employers from requesting employee or applicant social media account passwords. H.B. 2372 prohibits employers from requesting or requiring the user name and password of employees’ or applicants’ personal social media accounts or demanding employees or applicants to access the accounts in front of the employer. The law also prohibits employers from firing, disciplining, or denying employment to employees or applicants who refuse to provide the requested information.
Continue Reading Oklahoma Joins the Rapidly Growing Number of States with Social Media Password Laws
FTC Calling for Legislation in Recent Report on Data Brokers
The FTC released its report “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability”, which calls for more transparency and accountability from the companies that collect, resell or share consumers’ personal information, generally known as data brokers. While the report mentions some of the benefits of these companies, it strongly emphasizes their associated risks, noting that data brokers often store delicate consumer information, potentially exposing consumers to fraud, theft, and other types of consumer harm. One of the FTC’s key findings was that consumers have little access or control over their information once it is provided to data brokers, sparking a call for legislative action for increased transparency and accountability. For more information on this issue, please read the latest post on our Global Regulatory Enforcement blog.
Continue Reading FTC Calling for Legislation in Recent Report on Data Brokers
ECJ Google Spain Decision Delivered
On May 13, the Court of Justice of the European Union delivered a groundbreaking ruling on the so-called “right to be forgotten” and the territorial application of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. The Court ruled on key issues under what circumstances search engines must block certain information in the search results of the name of an individual.
Continue Reading ECJ Google Spain Decision Delivered
ANA Submits Comments on Big Data in Response to Request for Information
In January, President Obama called on senior government officials to lead a review of the implications of Big Data for privacy, the economy and public policy. A Federal Register Notice by the White House’s Science and Technology Policy Office sought comments from industry participants on a variety of issues related to Big Data. Earlier this week, the ANA submitted its comments in response to the Notice, focusing on the public policy implications of the collection, storage, analysis, and use of Big Data. In determining what the potential concerns of Big Data are, the ANA said that the focus should be on the sensitivity and potential vulnerability to harm of the data, not the amount of data in and of itself. As an example, the ANA pointed out that, “[c]ommercial privacy issues must not be allowed to be conflated with government surveillance and potential reforms at the NSA. These issues must not be confused with interest-based advertising or online behavioral advertising (OBA).” The ANA also urged that any governmental decisions about commercial data collection and use be made “carefully, correctly and judiciously.” In its comments, the ANA highlighted the progress made over the past few years by the private sector to enhance privacy protections for consumers, making specific reference to the self-regulatory efforts by the Digital Advertising Alliance.
Continue Reading ANA Submits Comments on Big Data in Response to Request for Information
Arbitrator Finds for SAG-AFTRA in Allocation Dispute: Signatory Ordered to Pay Additional Pension and Health Contributions to the SAG Plans
On March 18, an arbitrator ordered a signatory to the SAG 2009 Commercials Contract — Talent Direct (“TD”) — to pay additional pension and health contributions to the SAG-Producers Pension and Health Plans (the “SAG Plans”) after allocating less than the amounts set forth in the Allocation Guidelines. This arbitration ruling is the first of its kind since the institution of the Allocation Guidelines in 2009.
Continue Reading Arbitrator Finds for SAG-AFTRA in Allocation Dispute: Signatory Ordered to Pay Additional Pension and Health Contributions to the SAG Plans
Michael Jordan Wins Appeal in Trademark and Publicity Case
Back in 2009, Time magazine, the publisher of Sports Illustrated, ran a special commemorative Sports Illustrated issue devoted entirely to Michael Jordan’s basketball career. Jewel Food Stores, Inc. (“Jewel”), the operator of supermarkets in the Chicago area, was offered free advertising in the issue in exchange for agreeing to sell the magazine in its stores. Jewel ended up running a full page ad in the issue congratulating Jordan on his induction into the Hall of Fame. The ad featured text recognizing Jordan’s accomplishments and a pair of “23” sneakers, and prominently featured the Jewel logo and slogan in the middle of the ad.
Continue Reading Michael Jordan Wins Appeal in Trademark and Publicity Case
Sponsored by, the FTC – Sponsored Content Workshop
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) will host a one-day workshop on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 to look at the issue of “sponsored content” or “native advertising,” terms which refer to advertising that is blended into news, entertainment, and other content. According to the FTC, the workshop will “bring together publishing and advertising industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and self-regulatory organizations to explore: the ways in which sponsored content is presented to consumers online and in mobile apps; consumers’ recognition and understanding of it; the contexts in which it should be identifiable as advertising; and effective ways of differentiating it from editorial content.”…
Continue Reading Sponsored by, the FTC – Sponsored Content Workshop