December 2013

When a data oops becomes an uh-oh

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  Glitch Happens.  In the case of Accretive Health, Inc., it was a laptop taken from the passenger compartment of an employee’s car.  What transformed this oops into a full-fledged uh-oh was that the laptop contained files with 20 million pieces of data about 23,000 patients, including sensitive health information.  And according to the FTC’s lawsuit, the employee in question didn’t need all that

COPPA crowdsourcing. Yeah, really.

We got an interesting suggestion recently.  “With how fast technology changes, how about building in a process so companies can see if newer methods meet the requirements of existing rules?”  A related recommendation:  Crowdsourcing.  “The FTC could publicize an idea and get feedback from people.”  We’re fans of innovation, too, which is why the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule includes a procedure for companies to ask if methods of getting parental consent not listed in COPPA nonetheless meet the Rule’s standards.  As for crowdsourcing, we call it a notice and request for public c

Risky business

No one is sliding across the living room floor in shades lip synching to Bob Seger, but violating the FTC’s Risk-Based Pricing Rule is risky business nonetheless. That’s the message of the FTC’s $1.9 million settlement with telecom company Time Warner Cable, Inc., the first case brought under the Risk-Based Pricing Rule.

Shedding light on what your app is up to: 3 lessons for developers

Goldenshores Technologies’ “Brightest Flashlight Free” is an incredibly popular Android app downloaded by tens of millions of consumers.  But did those people know that when they used the app, it would transmit their precise location and unique device identifier to third parties, including ad networks?  According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, Goldenshores didn’t give people the straight story about how their information would be used and then compounded the problem by making them think they could exercise a choice about it – a “cho

And now for something completely different

Take out your mobile device where you input all that personal information and make note of three upcoming FTC events where the topic of conversation will be, well, the collection and use of all that personal information.  But this time we're switching things up a bit.  The FTC's Spring Privacy Series will consist of three two-hour seminars focused on emerging issues that consumers, industry groups, consumer advocates, and academics are starting to talk about.