Our transatlantic team will be hosting a practical webinar looking at the significant proposed changes in the protection of children online. The webinar will look at the current trends across Europe and the US to provide insights on changes that could impact your business in the year ahead. Please click here to find out more
Twenty-three privacy authorities worldwide, including several members of the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, issued a joint open letter to seven app marketplace operators, urging them to improve access to privacy information on mobile apps for users. Specifically, the letter addresses providing users with privacy practice information, informing users about the collection and use of data, and implementing protections to ensure privacy practice transparency.
Continue Reading Privacy Push for Mobile Apps
Yelp recently settled allegations made by the FTC that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, and has agreed to pay a $450,000 civil penalty for the violation, according to an FTC press release. The Yelp case underscores that online services that ask for users’ ages in the registration process will be deemed as having “actual knowledge” of that information. Therefore, whether a site is directed to children or not, a registration process including an age field effectively turns the process into an “age filter,” and may put the site at risk of violating COPPA.
Continue Reading Latest FTC Settlement Determines Yelp Had ‘Actual Knowledge’ of Collecting Children’s Info
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
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 Online Advertising Targeted by Federal Trade Commission
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
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 FTC Settlement with Snapchat – What Happens on Snapchat Stays on Snapchat?
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
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…
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…