Tag Archives: Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

FTC Settlement Applies “Made in the USA” standard to “Built in the USA” Claims

Continuing its focus on “Made in the USA” claims, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”), on February 1, applied its standard for those claims to “Built in the USA” claims by entering into a settlement with water filtration company, iSpring Water Systems, LLC (“iSpring”). In a move that appeared contrary to previously released guidance, … Continue Reading

FTC’s New Guidelines Provide Agency View on Data Breach Response

On October 25, the Federal Trade Commission released “Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business,” its latest guidance on data privacy and security regulation. The Guide seeks to help businesses comprehend the Agency’s understanding of both legal requirements and best practices, although what is legally required versus what is encouraged continues to be challenging for … Continue Reading

Mars Settles With FTC Over Dog Lifespan Claims

Last week, Mars Petcare U.S., Inc. (“Mars”) settled its case with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) over certain advertising claims. In 2015, the FTC initiated an investigation of Mars’ advertising claims for its Eukanuba dog food. Its advertising claimed that dogs that ate Eukanuba lived 30% longer than their typical lifespan and that Eukanuba brand … Continue Reading

FTC, CFPB, and States Collaborate to Clamp Down on Illegal Debt Collection

On November 4, the Federal Trade Commission announced an unprecedented coordinated federal-state enforcement effort targeting deceptive and abusive debt collection. This sweeping initiative, termed “Operation Collection Protection,” coordinates federal, state, and local actions under the FTC, the CFPB, 47 state attorneys general, and other enforcement officers and agencies. As the top source of complaints to … Continue Reading

FTC Workshop on the Sharing Economy: Insights and Promise

This post was written by John P. Feldman and Jonathan R. Davey. Following Commissioner Ohlhausen’s opening presentation, Stanford Professor Liran Einav introduced the first morning panel. It was moderated by Nathan Wilson, Economist for the FTC’s Bureau of Economics.  Panelists beyond Prof. Einav were Chiara Farronato, professor at Harvard Business School; Joshua Gans, University of … Continue Reading

New Insights from FTC on Its Endorsement Guides to Reflect Continued Focus on Disclosures

This post was written by John Feldman, Keri Bruce and Sara Shahmiri. After the FTC revised its Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials (the “Guides”) in 2009, it followed up with a set of frequently asked questions entitled “What People Are Asking” (the “FAQs”) to address questions that were on advertisers’ minds.  More than … Continue Reading

FTC Sharing Economy Workshop: Ohlhausen Sets the Stage for Innovation

This post was written by John P. Feldman and Jonathan R. Davey. As we, and countless others, have previously written, peer-to-peer sharing services are transforming the world economy.  As Tom Goodwin at Havas Media pointed out in March, the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles, the world’s largest media company creates no content, the … Continue Reading

Knowing Your Customer a Little Too Well

I hate shopping.  I know what I want and I do a surgical strike.  In and out; no soldier left behind. But most normal people browse a bit.  That’s where Nomi Technologies came into the picture.  Nomi’s technology allows retailers to track consumers’ movements through their stores.  How does it work?  According to a complaint … Continue Reading

Incentivized Reviews Without Disclosure Get Panned by FTC

In the latest iteration of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approach to testimonials and endorsements in the context of online advertising, the Commission alleged that AmeriFreight, a company that arranges the shipment of consumers’ cars through third-party freight carriers and its owner posted customer reviews without disclosing that it had provided a financial incentive for … Continue Reading

Appeals Court Sides with FTC in POM Wonderful Advertising Case

On January 30, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld claims of false advertising by POM Wonderful LLC (“POM Wonderful”), finding that the government could prohibit the pomegranate juice company from advertising its products as being effective in fighting heart disease, prostate cancer and erectile dysfunction. … Continue Reading

FTC Report Offers Privacy and Security Guidance for ‘Internet of Things’

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 Report … Continue Reading

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

FTC to Media: Time to Lose Some Pounds

Just in time for the New Year, as thousands of people are making weight loss resolutions and searching for ways to stick to them, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidance for publishers and broadcasters on how to evaluate weight-loss claims when screening ads for publication. The imposition of liability on the media for deceptive claims that are published is not new, and major television networks already pre-clear advertisements to ensure that they not misleading violations of section 5 of the FTC Act. Thus, the guidance does not create new liability for publishers, but rather provides a reminder for publishers to be vigilant when it comes to weight-loss claims.… Continue Reading

DMA Not a Supporter of “Reclaim Your Name” Campaign

Back in June, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill unveiled an initiative called, "Reclaim Your Name" at the Computer Freedom and Privacy Conference. Her proposed initiative is directed to the big data industry and calls on data brokers to give consumers more control over their personal data. According to Commissioner Brill, Reclaim Your Name would "empower the consumer to find out how brokers are collecting and using data; give her access to information that data brokers have amassed about her; allow her to opt-out if she learns a data broker is selling her information for marketing purposes; and provide her the opportunity to correct errors in information used for substantive decisions - like credit, insurance, employment, and other benefits." Commissioner Brill followed up her remarks at the Conference with an op-ed piece in the Washington Post earlier this month, again demanding transparency from data brokers. In her op-ed, Commissioner Brill likened the efforts of data brokers who collect data on surfing habits and app usage to the type of information the NSA was collecting. She also opined that "personal data could be -- and probably are -- used by firms making decisions that aren't regulated by the FCRA but still affect users' lives profoundly" and that these decisions include whether consumers are too risky to do business with or aren't right for certain clubs, dating services, schools or other programs.… Continue Reading

FTC Issues New COPPA Guidance Focusing on Ad Networks

It's now been almost a month since the revised COPPA Rule went into effect July 1, 2013. Earlier this year, the FTC issued new guidance on how to comply with the revised Rule. As part of its new guidance, the FTC provided a detailed set of FAQs. The FTC is planning to make additional revisions to their FAQs, with these revisions focusing on the obligations of ad networks. Specifically, the FTC explains in what circumstances an ad network is deemed to have "actual knowledge" that it has collected personal information from users of a child-directed site (see D.10, D.11, D.12), and the obligations of ad networks after they discover that they have been collecting personal information via a child-directed website (see K.2). The revised FAQs also relates traditional enforcement policy to the context of a button within an app that automatically opens an email program or social network. Providing the facility for a child to share personal information is just as problematic as if the operator was collecting that information itself. Thus, verifiable parental consent is required when permitting children to share content that may contain personal information - such as a painting combined with a field that allows for free expression.… Continue Reading

The Risks of ‘Native Advertising’

Kim Kardashian is notorious for setting Twitter trends with her fashion-forward tweets. But would a consumer buy the same product knowing she was paid up to $20,000 for tweeting it? The term "native advertising" refers to when an advertiser masks ads as editorial content in an effort to market more seamlessly to consumers. The intent behind this practice is to make advertisements less intrusive and to associate a brand with an experience.… Continue Reading

FTC Chairwoman Ramirez Says Do-Not-Track System is ‘Long Overdue’

Earlier this week, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez spoke to members of the ad industry, urging them to provide “effective and meaningful privacy protection” to consumers with respect to online tracking. Chairwoman Ramirez’s position reportedly surprised, and even frustrated, some attendees by implying that the Digital Advertising Alliance’s self-regulatory program does not do enough in the … Continue Reading

FTC Revises Guidelines for Online Advertising

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidelines (PDF) for regulating unfair and deceptive trade practices in online marketing. The ".Com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising," were released in 2000, before the meteoric rise of social media marketing and the advent of smartphone advertising. As the evolution of these two areas has drastically changed the way brands communicate with consumers and blurred lines between corporate and word of mouth advertising, the FTC saw a need to extend these guidelines to cover all online, social and mobile marketing.… Continue Reading

FTC to Mobile Industry: $800K… Can You Hear Me Now?

On February 1, the FTC announced its largest settlement to date with a mobile app developer – an $800,000 penalty – in conjunction with the release of guidance on mobile app best practices for app platforms, app developers, third parties and app trade associations.  The guidance document and the enforcement action together demonstrate the need … Continue Reading

POM Wonderful’s Claims … Not So Wonderful

On January 16, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission in a 5-0 vote upheld a May 2012 Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ") decision that POM Wonderful LLC ("POM") and its owners had falsely advertised its POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice, and POMx liquid and pill supplements, by claiming that its products treat, prevent or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, and that they were proven to work...… 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
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