When it comes to privacy promises, what you say you do with people’s personal information has to line up with your day-to-day practices. That’s the message of the FTC’s proposed settlement announced today with Facebook.
In its pending action against Sonkei Communications and two of its officers, the FTC has charged that the defendants sold robocall services to telemarketers who pitched things like home security systems, grant procurement programs, and credit card services.
This Thanksgiving, enjoy an extra slice of pie, take a longer nap, and watch the parades and games for a few more hours because that COPPA comment that was due on November 28th now has to be filed by December 23rd.
“Shirley, Shirley, Bo Birley, Banana Fana Fo Firley.” When Shirley Ellis sang the song back in the 60s, it was called “The Name Game.” But when people buy products containing fur, the name is no game.
If your company does business in the Asia-Pacific region — or if you work with clients from that part of the global economy — you’ll want to follow recent developments in the privacy arena. This week, the FTC welcomed the approval by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) of a new initiative to harmonize cross-border data privacy protection among members of APEC.
When a federal court tells a business to stop a certain course of conduct, here’s a handy tip for those who want to avoid even more serious legal trouble: Stop already.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s self-employed, healthcare costs remain a concern. So a phone call pitching what sounds like comprehensive health insurance coverage might attract your interest. Except that according to the FTC and the Tennessee Attorney General, what United States Benefits LLC was selling wasn’t really health insurance.
You might do business with members of the military community — or they could be your employees, neighbors, family and friends. On this Veterans Day, you may be considering a donation to a charity that assists veterans, active-duty personnel, or military families. But not all “charities” are legitimate: Some are sham operators whose only purpose is to make money for themselves. Others use paid fundraisers whose fees eat up most of a donation, so very little of it is shared with those in need.
It billed itself as “Facebook and Myspace for kids,” but according to a settlement with the FTC, the Skid-e-Kids website failed to meet critical compliance obligations under COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. As a result, the FTC says the site collected personal information from about 5,600 kids without their parents’ consent.
Businesses have wised up that their customers are concerned about privacy. That’s why privacy promises, like any other claim you convey, have to be truthful. So when you describe how you use — and don’t use — people’s information, be sure to give them the straight story, avoiding steps that would undermine their privacy choices. That’s the nuts-and-bolts conclusion companies should draw from the FTC’s settlement with ScanScout, the first agency action addressing Flash cookies.
Most marketers follow FTC happenings to get the latest on legal compliance. But while you’re visiting the Business Center, check out what BCP is doing to protect small businesses in their role as consumers. Getting the inside scoop on how B2B scams work will help you shield your company from fraudsters in the future.
The FTC’s 100th birthday is looming (and it doesn’t look a day over 85, if we do say so ourselves). Ever wonder what the FTC’s very first published law enforcement action — 1 F.T.C. 1 — involved? It dealt with a company that sold thread deceptively labeled as “cilk.” Fast forward a century and people still want to know for certain that the cotton shirt they’re buying is made of cotton.
In celebration of Halloween — and with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe — here’s our take on what companies can do to make sure spooky business practices don’t come back to haunt them.
Once upon a midnight lawful
Pondering practices, good and awful,
Reading through the U.S. Code
For dos and don’ts I parse and claw.
I came upon the Trade Commission’s
Section 5 with all revisions.
If you use the BCP Business Center, you know it’s a great source of practical compliance tips on advertising, telemarketing, online privacy, data security, and other topics. If you’re reading our blog, you know it’s a quick — and original — take on the latest developments in BCP enforcement, policy development, research, and education.
The FTC’s motor vehicle roundtables are rolling along. The next stop for The Road Ahead: Selling, Financing and Leasing Motor Vehicles is Washington, D.C., on November 17th. The Roundtable — which will take place in the FTC’s New Jersey Avenue Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W. — will focus on leasing, a look back at what the FTC has learned throughout the course of the roundtables, and where the FTC should go from here.
Next time you’re at the grocery store and flip around a package to check out the ingredients or calorie count, take the opportunity to remember the contribution of Virginia Knauer, who served Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan in high-level consumer affairs positions.
Ms. Knauer held some pretty daring opinions in her day. At a time when sellers of dog food — but not people food — had to disclose what was inside the package, she advocated for detailed product labeling.
Between the picture of the President and Vice-President standing in front of the American flag and the references to government funds to stabilize the economy, it’s understandable that people who signed up for the service advertised on the Grant Connect website thought they were on their way to landing a grant. Promoters even described Grant Connect as “a unique, consumer-friendly US government grant program that delivers all of the tools for the consumer to search multiple databases, write grant proposals, and deliver polished plans. . .”
It’s unusual for an FTC court document to come with a warning label, but the allegations contained in a recent debt collection case against an outfit doing business as Rumson, Bolling & Associates aren’t for the faint of heart. According to the FTC, the defendants harassed debtors with abusive and profane language, including threats to harm their family members, kill their pets, and desecrate the bodies of their deceased loved ones. And that’s just for starters.
Following what’s going on with the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children? Then you’ll want to read the FTC’s testimony yesterday at a joint hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade.