Archives: Data Privacy and Protection

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Online Advertising Targeted by Federal Trade Commission

On May 15, 2014, Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection at the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "Commission") testified, on behalf of the FTC, before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs addressing the Commission's work regarding three consumer protection issues affecting online advertising: (1) privacy, (2) malware and (3) data security. Below is a summary of the Commission's testimony regarding these three key areas and the Commission's advice for additional steps to protect consumers.… Continue Reading

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

FTC Settlement with Snapchat – What Happens on Snapchat Stays on Snapchat?

Last Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that messaging app Snapchat agreed to settle charges that it deceived consumers with promises about the disappearing nature of messages sent through the app. The FTC case also alleged that the company deceived consumers over the amount of personal data the app collected, and the security measures taken to protect that data from misuse and unauthorized disclosure. The case alleged that Snapchat's failure to secure its Find Friends feature resulted in a security breach that enabled attackers to compile a database of 4.6 million Snapchat usernames and phone numbers.… Continue Reading

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

Privacy Issues Continue to Be Focus of State AGs

States continue to focus their investigation and enforcement efforts on privacy issues, with no sign that the focus will shift anytime soon. The most recent example is a $17 million settlement between 37 states (and D.C.) and Google related to Google’s use of tracking cookies on Safari browsers. For more information about this case and … Continue Reading

Legislative Roundup: CA Lawmakers Pass Three Privacy Bills

California is once again seeking to set the trend in privacy legislation, having recently passed three bills related to data privacy. One of those bills, AB 370, would mandate operators of websites and mobile apps to include disclosures in their privacy policies on how they respond to “do not track” signals or other consumer choice … Continue Reading

Privacy Concerns to be Addressed at FTC Workshop in November

In response to the mounting data privacy concerns attributed to the proliferation of smart devices, the FTC will be holding a public workshop on November 21, 2013, addressing questions over the "Internet of Things." Two public interest groups, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), have already submitted comments expressing their concerns over the privacy implications related to this topic, which include the tracking of daily behaviors and personal habits.… Continue Reading

Recent VPPA Amendments Allowing for Easier Sharing of Viewer Preferences Could Also Mean Increased Litigation

In 2012, streaming entertainment accounted for almost half of peak Internet traffic.  In 2013, the online viewing phenomenon continues to generate massive amounts of actionable information about named consumers, from interests to habits to schedule to mood.  Until now, the Video Privacy Protection Act – launched in the heyday of VHS – has blocked companies … Continue Reading

FTC Announces New COPPA Rule

FTC Chairman Leibowitz has followed though on his commitment to finalize the new COPPA rule by the end of the year. Earlier today, at a press conference, the Chairman, alongside Senator Jay Rockefeller, announced the agency’s update to the rule. The new rule expands the application of the rule to new categories of “personal information” … Continue Reading

Do you know where your children are?

Apparently, a lot of people want to know, according to the Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Jeff Chester, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy. To learn more why, read our Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog covering the latest complaint filed against a mobile game-maker for alleged COPPA violations.… Continue Reading

Children’s Privacy in Mobile Apps Continues to be atop FTC’s List of Concerns

One is hard-pressed to think of something more important than protecting the privacy of our children. Front and center in this debate is how such privacy concerns need to be addressed in mobile platforms like smartphones. As the saying goes, "There's an app for that", and such is certainly true in offerings directed to children. The Federal Trade Commission has now issued its second staff report on the privacy practices of mobile apps for children, "Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade."… Continue Reading

Privacy Stakeholders Meet Again Over Mobile Privacy Best Practices

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce held its latest meeting with privacy stakeholders November 30, to discuss privacy best practices for the mobile environment. We have previously blogged about some of these earlier meetings on our sister blog from our Global Regulatory Enforcement Group. This latest meeting once again joined members of the app developer industry with members of consumer advocate and privacy groups, along with other stakeholders from government, academia, and the private sector. Discussion focused on the latest draft of the Mobile Application Transparency Code of Conduct. Some of the issues considered in this latest draft are...… Continue Reading

Federal Trade Commission Director Claims Victory with Largest Civil Fine in FTC’s History for Consent Order Violation

David Vladeck, FTC Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, made comments Tuesday, citing the U.S. District Court's approval of a $22.5 million civil fine against Google for violating a consent order as "a clear victory for consumers and privacy," and demonstrating that the Commission "will continue to ensure that its orders are obeyed, and that consumers' privacy is protected." The consent order settled charges that Google misrepresented privacy assurances to users of Apple's Safari Internet browser in violation of a previous FTC settlement Order.… Continue Reading

Facebook Tries to Settle ‘Sponsored Stories’ Class Action . . . Again

Earlier this year, we analyzed some privacy considerations with a class action lawsuit against Facebook accusing the social media giant of violating the rights of users through its "Sponsored Stories" advertising program. Per the Complaint, Facebook would not only display such ads, but would also use the "names, photographs, likenesses, and identities" of Facebook users to help promote the product to friends of those users. The Complaint alleged that a user would be associated with a product by choosing to click a "Like" button, and would then be automatically associated with the corresponding ad campaign, without compensation and allegedly without the user's consent.… Continue Reading

FTC Announces Robocall Summit

On the heels of our report that the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") is putting the obligations on entities that use auto-dialers — “Robocalls” — to public safety phone lines on its agenda for the year (see our 10/17/12 blog: “New Do-Not-Call Public Safety Registry Creates Additional Obligations for Auto-Dial Operators” by Judith L. Harris and … Continue Reading

FTC OKs Self-Regulation Program for Online Behavioral Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission issued an advisory opinion letter this week saying that it has no present intention to challenge the Council of Better Business Bureaus’ accountability self regulatory program for companies engaged in online behavioral advertising. The program is designed to foster compliance with the Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, which were released by … Continue Reading

Commissioner Brill Introduces Competition Analysis to Privacy Debate

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill stated today that “there may be a tipping point” at which self-regulatory privacy initiatives “turn[] anticompetitive, particularly in cases where the mechanisms are developed by a trade association or industry players that have a dominant market position.” A self-regulatory privacy proposal could raise “competition concerns,” she said, if it “disadvantages competitors … Continue Reading

Rep. Markey Releases a Kids Do Not Track Discussion Draft Bill

This post was also written by Amy Mushahwar. Bill Adds to the Web of Proposed Privacy Legislation and Contains Much More Than Kids Do Not Track Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) circulated a discussion draft of his kids online do-not-track bill, co-sponsored by Joe Barton (R-Tex.) that proposes to make it illegal to use kids’ or … Continue Reading

Email Marketing Under Attack

In recent months, a number of major brands have faced complex legal and reputational risks that arose from the hacking of email fulfillment vendors. These cases generally present the following challenges: Gaining a technical, business and legal understanding of what happened, to who, when and how, and developing privileged and unprivileged messaging about the event … Continue Reading

Privacy Challenges in Marketing Practices European (over)ruling of the use of personal data?

This post was written by Avv. Felix Hofer. Multinational companies planning to target EU consumers with sophisticated marketing techniques may easily find themselves on a marshy ground, if they do not deserve sufficient attention to European privacy laws. Costumer profiling, monitoring and categorizing offers essential information for crucial business decisions, but have also to comply … Continue Reading

Corporations Do Not Have Personal Information Protected Under FOIA

The Supreme Court came down this week with a watershed decision that may effect businesses small and large which collect and store customers’ personal information. Despite AT&T’s attempt to argue they are a private citizen and, therefore protected under the Freedom of Information Act, the Supreme Court ruled otherwise and clarified the FOIA only applies … Continue Reading

For Privacy, European Commission Must Be Innovative

This blog post is republished by permission of the Center for Democracy and Technology where it first appeared. This post is part of “CDT Fellows Focus,” a series that presents the views of notable experts on tech policy issues. This month, CDT Fellow Omer Tene writes about the consultation launched by the European Commission to update … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Halts ZIP Code Collection

Reed Smith colleagues on our Global Regulatory Enforcement Law Blog discussed a recent California Supreme Court ruling that declared illegal the collection of an individual’s ZIP code when completing a credit card transaction. As a result, the ability of many retailers to generate in-store marketing leads becomes even more difficult. We encourage you to visit … Continue Reading
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