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FTC sues marketers of student loan “debt relief” – and financer who helped it happen

Every spring at colleges across the country, many graduates receive a diploma in their hand – and an albatross around their neck. The burden of student loan debt weighs heavily on American families. And given the pressures on cash-strapped employees, businesses say they’re paying a price in productivity.

Making CBD health claims? Careful Before Disseminating

Companies and consumers are talking in a different way these days about cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound derived from the cannabis plant. But even as the conversation changes, one thing remains the same. Before making claims about purported health effects of CBD products, advertisers need sound science to support their statements.

$170 million FTC-NY YouTube settlement offers COPPA compliance tips for platforms and providers

Had you asked yesterday, we would have said the largest financial remedy for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule was $5.7 million. Today’s $170 million total monetary judgment against YouTube and its parent company Google raises the stakes when it comes to COPPA compliance. Filed jointly with the New York Attorney General’s Office, the record-breaking FTC settlement offers three primary takeaways for other companies.

Settlement with operator of post-secondary schools offers an education about lead generation

Colleges are known for team sports, but it’s an unfortunate fact that consumer deception can be a team sport, too. A proposed FTC settlement with Career Education Corporation, American InterContinental University, Colorado Technical University, and related defendants alleges they used illegal game plans to lure consumers to their post-secondary and vocational schools.

All aboard for Atlanta

According to musical legend, a buddy of songwriter Jim Weatherly commented that his girlfriend was leaving on the “midnight plane to Houston.” The buddy was Lee Majors of Six Million Dollar Man fame and his girlfriend (and later wife) was actress Farrah Fawcett. Mr. Weatherly filed the phrase away and later used it as inspiration for his megahit, Midnight Train to Georgia.

Ready Panel One: FTC workshop considers consumer implications of loot boxes

For members of the videogame industry, loot boxes are no game. They’re a serious part of the revenue stream. But do loot boxes – grab bags of digital goodies bought with in-game virtual currency or real money – raise consumer protection concerns? What about the potential impact on young consumers?

FTC sues Cambridge Analytica for deceptive claims about consumers’ personal information

The data that Facebook collects about its users could reveal a lot about users’ personalities. A company named Cambridge Analytica sure thought so. The FTC alleges Cambridge Analytica used false and deceptive tactics to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users – data later used to profile and target U.S. voters.

FTC’s $5 billion Facebook settlement: Record-breaking and history-making

If you’ve ever wondered what a paradigm shift looks like, you’re witnessing one today. The FTC’s $5 billion civil penalty against Facebook for violations of an earlier FTC order is record-breaking and history-making. In addition, the settlement requires Facebook to implement changes to its privacy practices, its corporate structure, and the role of CEO Mark Zuckerberg that are seismic in scope.

$575 million Equifax settlement illustrates security basics for your business

Patch your software. Segment your network. Monitor for intruders. According to tech experts, those are security basics for businesses of any size. But when you’re industry giant Equifax – a company in possession of staggering amounts of highly confidential information about more than 200 million Americans – it’s almost unthinkable not to implement those fundamental protections.

New block on the kids? FTC announces COPPA review and workshop

No – nobody is really suggesting a block on kids. But the FTC is taking a fresh look at the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and we couldn’t resist the title’s reference to 90s tweens’ favorite boy band, now parents themselves. For years we’ve been “Hangin’ Tough” about the need to protect kids’ personal information online, but it’s time for a “Step By Step” review of the COPPA Rule.

Who’s in the mix at Nixing the Fix?

Coldplay sang “Fix You,” but if the group had been referring to their tech devices, cars, or other products in need of repair, their efforts could have consumer protection ramifications. A July 16, 2019, FTC event, Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions, will focus on the state of the repair marketplace. Are manufacturers making it difficult (or even impossible) for consumers or independent shops to make product repairs?

D-Link settlement: Internet of Things depends on secure software development

The FTC has been keeping a close watch on the Internet of Things since the Internet of Things became a thing to watch. That includes law enforcement actions against companies alleged to have sold vulnerable connected devices that put consumers’ sensitive information at risk. Affected devices could even become – in effect – zombies that do the bidding of malicious botnets that threaten the Internet.

FTC says credit repair company en-CROA-ched on consumer rights

The first rule of credit repair is that no credit repair company can remove accurate and timely negative information from someone’s credit report. For credit repair companies that would claim otherwise, there’s CROA – the Credit Repair Organizations Act. It makes it illegal for credit repair companies to lie about what they can do to clear up a clouded credit report, or charge upfront fees before they do the job they promised to do.

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