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$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.

PrivacyCon: Watch the webcast

The stars are aligning – the privacy and security stars, that is. The FTC’s fourth PrivacyCon convenes today, June 27, 2019. Experts from around the globe will discuss their latest research into privacy and data security, and the consumer protection implications of their findings. Minutes before FTC Chairman Simons convenes PrivacyCon at 9:15 ET this morning, visit the event page to watch the webcast live. Join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #PrivacyCon19.

 

Operation Call it Quits: There’s no quit in our fight against illegal robocalls

Hate illegal robocalls? You’re not alone. The FTC hates them, too, as do state Attorneys General and pretty much anyone with a phone. The FTC and state and federal partners teamed up today to announce Operation Call it Quits, the latest salvo in the ongoing fight against robocalls and other illegal telemarketing. We also have tips on how you can help hang up on what many people consider to be Consumer Protection Enemy #1.

Bee-lieving in the power of partnership

The state seal of Utah famously depicts a beehive, a symbol of industry and cooperation. Industry and cooperation also have been the hallmarks of the long-standing relationship between the FTC and the Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection. That’s why we’re proud to announce that the Division is the latest recipient of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Partner Award.

PrivacyCon’s All-Star line-up

In just a few years, the FTC’s PrivacyCon has become an Information All-Star Game, complete with panels as high-flying or power-hitting as the Slam Dunk Contest or Home Run Derby. (OK. High-flying and power-hitting if you’re a researcher, academic, or advocate interested in data security and consumer privacy.) The FTC just announced the agenda for the fourth annual PrivacyCon on June 27, 2019. Consult your calendar and save the date.

Data security settlement with service provider includes updated order provisions

The domino principle. The ripple effect. The butterfly phenomenon. Apply the analogy of your choice to describe what happens when one software developer’s allegedly lax security practices result in the breach of confidential customer information maintained by multiple businesses that use the software.

Consumer gag clauses: Totally not awesome under CRFA

Moon Unit Zappa’s 1982 song “Valley Girl” popularized the phrase “gag me with a spoon.” We doubt the lyric “gag me with a form contract clause” would have been a hit, but it’s among the tactics expressly outlawed by the Consumer Review Fairness Act. As two proposed settlements demonstrate, the FTC thinks gag clauses and similar non-disparagement provisions that violate the CRFA are – to quote Ms. Zappa – grody to the max.

FinTech finds a home in the FTC Business Center

The term “FinTech” covers a lot of topics central to the FTC’s consumer protection mission – lending, payment systems, data security, privacy, and truth in advertising, to name just a few. So where can businesses go for resources on how established consumer protection standards apply in this emerging marketplace? FinTech-related materials have a new home in the Business Center: a dedicated FinTech page.

3 tips from 3 FTC Consumer Review Fairness Act cases

Their lines of work are as different as can be: an HVAC and electrical contractor, a flooring seller, and a company that takes people on horseback rides. But according to the FTC, they have one thing in common. They all violated the Consumer Review Fairness Act. Read on for details about the FTC’s first cases solely enforcing the CRFA, the form contract provisions the FTC says contravened the law, and tips for keeping your contracts CRFA-compliant.

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