Business Blog


U.S.-EU Safe Harbor compliance: Don’t run aground

An app developer, a medical waste company, a skateboard event sponsor, a stock car racing school, and a bagel purveyor. That’s either the strangest answer to a Jeopardy! question – or a partial list of companies that just settled FTC charges that they falsely claimed they were certified members of the U.S.-EU or U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor Framework.

A word about passwords

On the old game show “Password,” the host whispered a word to contestants, who then gave clues to celebrities. The first to guess correctly advanced to the Lighting Round. The loser went home with a year’s supply of car wax.

Leading questions?

It’s a common occurrence. People looking online for a product or service – say, a loan or an educational program – find themselves on a site that asks for their personal information. The idea is that consumers will be connected with a company in that business. That exchange of information might offer an easy way to put buyers and sellers together. But sometimes the data wends its way through multiple hands before reaching the business selling what the consumer is looking for.

A new model for auto dealers?

There are three letters every auto dealer should know about. GTO? XKE? Good guesses, but not what we had in mind.

We’re talking about GLB.

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions to give their customers initial and annual notices about their privacy policies. If the company shares certain customer information with particular types of third parties, they also have to give customers the opportunity to opt out of sharing. The FTC’s Privacy of Consumer Financial Information Rule – friends call it the GLB Privacy Rule – explains the specifics.

How the FTC works for your community – and your business

“The Federal Trade Commission works for America’s consumers in every community.” I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said those words or heard them from my colleagues – and that’s a good thing. Of course, business owners are consumers, too, and the FTC works for you in two ways.

First, we strive to protect all consumers – including you, your family, friends, and employees – from deceptive practices.

Vegas dealers called for deceptive claims

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But here’s one thing that doesn’t belong in Vegas or anywhere else: ads that draw buyers in with eye-catching terms while burying the “gotchas” in fine print. In separate law enforcement actions, the FTC alleged that two Las Vegas dealers – car dealers, that is – didn’t play it straight with consumers.

What’s yours is mined

It’s one of those “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” principles: Don’t use someone’s stuff without their permission. Back then, the rule applied to crayons and cupcakes. A case announced by the FTC and New Jersey AG against the marketers of a free mobile app called Prized proves that it applies to smartphones, too. And you’re not going to believe what the defendants were using people’s phones to do.

Running the risk

The online ads offer consumers a “risk-free trial” of skincare products from companies that claim to be accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A- rating. How could that possibly be deceptive or unfair? Let us count the ways.

Don’t let a natural disaster become a data security calamity

A natural disaster can wreak havoc on any business. But it’s even worse when that real-world catastrophe becomes a data security calamity.

Before the summer storm season arrives, get your business ready. Just like you gather flashlights, bottled water, and emergency supplies, you can prepare your business by reviewing data retention and disposal practices.