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A word about substantiation as mosquito season approaches (and a bit about endorsements, too)

Mosquitoes don’t just bug us. A big concern is their penchant for passing along pernicious diseases, including the Zika virus. New Jersey-based Aromaflage claimed its sprays and candles were effective at repelling mosquitoes – including ones that spread serious illnesses – and repelled mosquitoes as effectively as 25% DEET. The FTC alleges those representations were false or misleading.

FTC-FDA warning letters ask: Is it a kids’ treat – or a tobacco product?

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. According to warning letters from the FDA and FTC, certain sellers of e-liquids – flavorings for e-cigarettes – are using packaging that imitates foods or beverages popular with children. Little kids who ingest what’s inside boxes that appear to be apple juice, cookies, candy, etc., risk acute nicotine toxicity, poisoning that can result in seizure, coma, cardiac and respiratory arrest, and death.

Where in the world? Warning letters address geolocation and COPPA coverage

Remember that public service announcement: “It’s 8:00. Do you know where your children are?” Technology has given parents tools for answering that question. But under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, online services touted as ways to keep kids connected need to comply with key parental notice and consent provisions of COPPA – especially when they’re collecting children’s geolocation. That’s the message of two warning letters just sent by FTC staff.

The FTC announces new cybersecurity education for small business

Last year, we heard from small business owners about their cybersecurity challenges at a series of roundtable discussions the FTC hosted with some of its partners. What we learned is that small business owners need and want information on how to keep their computer systems and business data safe. So we’re planning to provide that to them. Later this year, the FTC will launch a small business education campaign on cybersecurity, in partnership with other federal agencies.

FTC addresses Uber’s undisclosed data breach in new proposed order

In its August 2017 proposed consent agreement with Uber, the FTC alleged, among other things, that the company’s unreasonable security practices resulted in a May 2014 data breach. But there’s more to the story now. According to the FTC, Uber experienced another breach in the fall of 2016 – right in the middle of the FTC’s nonpublic investigation – but didn’t disclose it to the FTC until November 2017.

Mattress sellers stick buyers with misleading “USA” claim

Here’s the thing about nectar. It can be sweet, but sticky. People who paid Palo Alto-based Nectar Brand LLC for mattresses labeled “Designed and Assembled in the USA” thought they were getting a sweet deal. In fact, buyers were stuck with mattresses imported from China, already completed. The company, which also uses the names Nectar Sleep and DreamCloud, performed no assembly operations in the United States.

“Amazing Wealth System” not so amazing, alleges the FTC

An FTC lawsuit alleges that money-making claims made by a related group of companies and individuals for their Amazing Wealth System are “amazing” all right – if by “amazing” you mean “not credible” or “unsupported by the facts.” The complaint charges the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the Business Opportunity Ru

1,000 posts, but who’s counting? (We are, actually.)

When the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection started the Business Blog in 2010, we promised readers “a minimum of ho-hum, a maximum of how-to, and as little yadda yadda yadda as a legal website can manage.” More than 1,000 Business Blog posts later and we’re still striving to keep things engaging and enlightening (although being a legal website and all, we’ve succeeded is cutting out only two of the yaddas).

Eye can see clearly now: FTC contact lens workshop set to start

Medical professionals, consumer advocates, industry members, and law enforcers are gathering in Washington right now in anticipation of today’s workshop, The Contact Lens Rule and the Evolving Contact Lens Marketplace. Panelists will scrutinize issues related to competition in the marketplace, consumer access to contact lenses, prescription release and portability, and other topics.

Patchwork: Why do many mobile devices go without security updates?

Every business wants to forge an ongoing relationship with their customers. That principle takes on special significance for mobile device manufacturers when they need to issue security patches for the operating system software on their phones and tablets. Once devices are in consumers’ hands, are they getting the patches they need to protect against critical vulnerabilities? Are companies deploying those patches in a timely fashion and for a reasonable length of time?

FTC recaps consumer complaint data for 2017: Who’s on the list?

Once bitten, twice shy. That fundamental principle of human behavior is why reputable businesses that work hard to earn consumers’ confidence should support the FTC’s ongoing efforts to fight fraud. According to the FTC’s 2017 Consumer Sentinel Data Book, consumers reported losing a total of $905 million to fraud last year. That’s close to a billion bucks people won’t be able to spend on legitimate products and services from credible companies.

En banc Court of Appeals rules in FTC’s favor on common carrier issue

If you’ve been following the FTC’s lawsuit against AT&T alleging deceptive and unfair data throttling, there’s important news. A unanimous en banc decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in the FTC’s favor on a key issue involving the agency’s jurisdiction.

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