Business Blog

FTC staff to search engines: Differentiate ads from natural results

When users type something into a search engine and hit enter, what shows up on the screen next?  Is it the natural result of their search or is it advertising?  If they get natural results and ads, is it clear to consumers which is which?  Following up on efforts to update guidance to digital advertisers, including revisions to .com Disclosures and the

Telemarketing violations? Court ruling suggests distance, not assistance

The Telemarketing Sales Rule outlaws a variety of deceptive practices.  But liability isn’t limited just to the companies that place the calls or the marketers that hire them.  It’s also illegal to “provide substantial assistance or support” to a seller or telemarketer when you know or consciously avoid knowing they’re violating the Rule.  A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit unpacks that portion of the

Internet of Things: Same topic, new date

If you have a really smart smart device, it’s probably already told you.  But here’s the news anyway:  The new date for the FTC’s Internet of Things workshop is November 19, 2013.  The workshop will cover the consumer protection implications now that everyday devices have started to communicate with us and with each other.  To quote SNL’s Linda Richman, “Tawk amongst ya-selves” about how to weigh the privacy and security risks against po

Last resort

Three FTC cases, 83 civil actions brought by 28 states, more than 184 defendants facing criminal charges in cases filed by federal and local prosecutors, and 25 actions brought by agencies in 10 other countries.  If you’re unclear on whether law enforcers are presenting a united front against travel-related fraud, then we have some oceanfront property to sell you.

"I read the news today, oh boy"

There's "Life of Pi" and "Life of Brian," Boswell’s “Life of Samuel Johnson,” the sitcom “Life of Riley,” and the Beatles’ ground-breaking “A Day in the Life.”   We view Life of a Debt: Data Integrity in Debt Collection, a roundtable hosted by the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), as pretty ground-breaking, too.  And the topic — the flow of consumer data through the debt collection process — should attract the interest of your clients in the financial field.

Mom, Home, and Mobile Security

Is there a more "apple pie” issue than mobile security?  It’s hard to come up with one.  That’s because a safe environment for mobile commerce is critical to the continued growth of that marketplace — and because you haven’t torn yourself away from your mobile device since you huffed and puffed to the Spice Girls at step aerobics class in ’99.

Possible changes loom for FTC's Textile Rules

Never let it be said that the FTC doesn’t have your back — or sleeve, cuff, waistband, or wherever else you find the label that discloses the kind of fabric a product is made of.  If your business touches on textiles, you’re familiar with the requirements of the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act and the FTC’s accompanying Textile Rules.  Are you in the loop

Calling for comments about proposed changes to the Telemarketing Sales Rule

We’re not one to loft accolades in the direction of fraudulent telemarketers, but we’ll say this about them:  They’re a quick study when it comes to using new technologies and business methods to their shady advantage.  As part of its ongoing effort to protect consumers from deceptive telemarketing, the FTC is proposing amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule that would curtail the use of certain kinds of payments that have become fast favorites among fraudsters.

FTC-3PO

We've been patient.  It's been years since "Star Wars" came out and we still don't have a gold-plated droid to do our bidding.  But companies have introduced a slew of "smart" products that perform a lot of the same functions.

Take a letter

Today’s Business Blog post is brought to you by the letters C-O-P-P-A. If your website or online service is covered by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, you’re readying your business for the changes that go into effect on July 1, 2013. For the benefit of those looking for a compliance refresher, the FTC just sent out letters to more than 90 companies that may be affected by the revision to the Rule.

Assist-sense: Insights on liability under the Telemarketing Sales Rule

Lending a helping hand is great when you’re talking about a barn raising, a rent party, or assisting a little old lady across the street.  But when the activity in question is, well, questionable — like selling businesses technology that can be used to place illegal robocalls — companies need to make sure they’re not assisting and facilitating violations of the law.  That’s one message your clients should take from the FTC’s settlement with Skyy Consulting, which also does business under the name CallFire.

Senior Identity Theft: A Problem in this Day and Age

When it comes to older consumers, the usual anti-identity theft advice still applies.  But as we get older, we’re more likely to receive government benefits, visit the doctor regularly, or ponder a move to Del Boca Vista Phase 3 — lifestyle changes that may present different kinds of ID theft concerns.  Sure, it's an important topic for older consumers and their families.  But if you have clients in the financial services, healthcare, or residential care sector, an upcoming FTC workshop will help them focus on what this means for businesses, too.

Calling all cards

We’ve been saying it for years:  “What the headline giveth, the footnote cannot taketh away.”  The same holds true for the dense block of text, the hidden-away reverse side, the vague hyperlink, or any other place the FTC has warned advertisers may not meet the standard for “clear and conspicuous” disclosure.  A recent settlement involving long distance phone cards emphasizes what’s not so fine about fine print.

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