Researchers report that 72% of American adults now own a smartphone and when they’re on their phones, 89% of their time is spent on apps. An analysis of how app developers generate revenue raises some interesting issues that touch on consumer privacy.
One pundit has called it the most pervasive industry that nobody knows about, which is why the FTC has sponsored a workshop, brought law enforcement actions, and just published a Staff Perspective to call attention to the consumer protection implications.
As the old saying goes, “The job’s not finished until the paperwork is done.” But since the enactment of the FTC’s Disposal Rule, the job’s not finished until the paperwork – in this case, consumer reports or information derived from them – is securely destroyed.
We’ve cautioned companies to give VW owners the straight story about the $10 billion buyback program resulting from VW’s false “clean diesel” claims. But new promotions claiming to be related to the buyback are making the rounds and wait ‘til you hear who’s in their sights this time: auto dealers.
Ransom notes used to come in the form of pasted letters clipped from newspapers. Now datanappers gain entry through a weak spot in a company’s network, lock the business out of its own system, and hold files – including sensitive health or financial information – for ransom. Would you know how to react if your business is the next victim? And are you taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of that happening?
We often get the question, “If I comply with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, am I complying with what the FTC requires?” From the perspective of the staff of the Federal Trade Commission, NIST’s Cybersecurity Framework is consistent with the process-based approach that the FTC has followed since the late 1990s, the 60+ law enforcement actions the FTC has brought to date, and the agency’s educational messages to companies, including its recent Start with Security guidance. First, a littl
Gary Numan sang, “Here in my car, I can only receive.” Well, those days are in the past. More and more vehicles are outfitted with the latest communications technologies like Bluetooth, GPS navigation, roadside assistance, streaming music, and web browsing. With mobile technologies in rental cars, consumers’ personal information can stay with the car long after the consumer has returned it. If you’re a car rental company, it’s important to think about protecting consumer privacy in connected rental cars.
Well, that didn’t take long.
The details of the historic $10 billion Volkswagen “clean diesel” settlement are still being finalized – and as we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re already hearing reports of dealers targeting VW owners and lessees with promotions that include half-truths, misinformation, and downright deception.
If a disclosure is intended to inform consumers – and isn’t that pretty much the job description of a disclosure? – it should accomplish that task effectively. A “disclosure” that fails that fundamental test is no disclosure at all. That’s FTC 101. So what can be done to improve the testing and evaluation of disclosures? Leading academics and testing professionals will gather at the FTC on September 15, 2016, to explore that topic.
According to the Sinatra standard, "Love is lovelier the second time around.” But the same can’t be said when a car dealership that has already settled an FTC law enforcement action for deceptively advertising financing and leasing terms engages in further misrepresentations.
We’re not being overdramatic when we describe it as a business executive’s nightmare: a shadowy contact from a hacker who has infiltrated a company’s network, encrypted the data, and now demands ransom for a key to access the files.
“It says it’s organic, but just what does that mean?” That’s a question a lot of consumers ask themselves when shopping for non-agricultural items like personal care products – and it will be the topic of discussion at an October 20, 2016, roundtable in Washington, DC.
The FTC’s recent action against Volkswagen focused on the company’s “clean diesel” claims, which were rendered false by VW’s installation of a defeat device that cheated on emissions tests. The history-making $10 billion settlement will offer eligible car owners choices to compensate them for the deception.
Mosquitoes aren’t just another picnic pest. They can carry serious diseases running the gamut from A to Zika virus. And just as illness can follow when mosquitoes infest, consumer injury can follow when ads are deceptive. The FTC staff just sent 10 warning letters about anti-Zika claims for wristbands, patches, stickers, and the like, reminding recipients that representations must be backed by proper proof.
“It’s a dog’s life,” they say – and according to Mars Petcare, its Eukanuba brand of dog food could extend dogs’ lives by 30%. But the FTC alleges that Mars made misleading representations about the products’ life-extending benefits and falsely claimed that scientific tests supported what the company said.
Innovative financial technology is changing the way consumers borrow, share, and spend money, offering the promise of increased convenience and access to financial services. The FTC is hosting a series of FinTech events to broadly explore the implications of this financial technology for consumers, building on the agency’s longstanding focus on technological innovation and extensive enforcement experience in the area of non-bank financial practices.
The FTC’s lawsuit against Gary Kieper and Partners in Health Care Association (PIHC) alleged that the defendants deceptively peddled medical discount cards in the guise of health insurance. “Medical discount cards? Not my line,” you might say. But don’t discount the foundational legal principles articulated in the Court’s Order granting the FTC’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
A certain famous chef is known for exclaiming “BAM!” when he wants to extract the most flavor from a recipe. The FTC’s case against an unrelated California company called BAM Financial alleges a far less savory form of extraction.
Multi-level marketer Herbalife will pay $200 million back to people who were taken in by what the FTC alleges were misleading moneymaking claims. But when it comes to protecting consumers, that may not be the most important part of the just-announced settlement. What could matter more than $200 million? An order that requires Herbalife to restructure its business from top to bottom – and to start complying with the law.
The Internet of Things refers to consumer products that connect to the Internet to send and receive data – everything from fitness devices, wearables, and smart cars to connected smoke detectors, light bulbs, and refrigerators.