According to musical legend, a buddy of songwriter Jim Weatherly commented that his girlfriend was leaving on the “midnight plane to Houston.” The buddy was Lee Majors of Six Million Dollar Man fame and his girlfriend (and later wife) was actress Farrah Fawcett. Mr. Weatherly filed the phrase away and later used it as inspiration for his megahit, Midnight Train to Georgia.
For members of the videogame industry, loot boxes are no game. They’re a serious part of the revenue stream. But do loot boxes – grab bags of digital goodies bought with in-game virtual currency or real money – raise consumer protection concerns? What about the potential impact on young consumers?
The data that Facebook collects about its users could reveal a lot about users’ personalities. A company named Cambridge Analytica sure thought so. The FTC alleges Cambridge Analytica used false and deceptive tactics to harvest personal information from tens of millions of Facebook users – data later used to profile and target U.S. voters.
If you’ve ever wondered what a paradigm shift looks like, you’re witnessing one today. The FTC’s $5 billion civil penalty against Facebook for violations of an earlier FTC order is record-breaking and history-making. In addition, the settlement requires Facebook to implement changes to its privacy practices, its corporate structure, and the role of CEO Mark Zuckerberg that are seismic in scope.
Patch your software. Segment your network. Monitor for intruders. According to tech experts, those are security basics for businesses of any size. But when you’re industry giant Equifax – a company in possession of staggering amounts of highly confidential information about more than 200 million Americans – it’s almost unthinkable not to implement those fundamental protections.
No – nobody is really suggesting a block on kids. But the FTC is taking a fresh look at the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and we couldn’t resist the title’s reference to 90s tweens’ favorite boy band, now parents themselves. For years we’ve been “Hangin’ Tough” about the need to protect kids’ personal information online, but it’s time for a “Step By Step” review of the COPPA Rule.
How do repair restrictions for tech devices, appliances, cars, etc., affect consumers and small businesses? What are the arguments for and against? And what’s the fix? Those are topics of Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions – and it’s set to start soon. At 12:30 ET today, you can watch the live webcast.
Coldplay sang “Fix You,” but if the group had been referring to their tech devices, cars, or other products in need of repair, their efforts could have consumer protection ramifications. A July 16, 2019, FTC event, Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions, will focus on the state of the repair marketplace. Are manufacturers making it difficult (or even impossible) for consumers or independent shops to make product repairs?
The FTC has been keeping a close watch on the Internet of Things since the Internet of Things became a thing to watch. That includes law enforcement actions against companies alleged to have sold vulnerable connected devices that put consumers’ sensitive information at risk. Affected devices could even become – in effect – zombies that do the bidding of malicious botnets that threaten the Internet.
Whether you’re taking the midnight train to Georgia, a quick trip on MARTA, or a drive around the Perimeter on your way to one of the many Peachtree Streets, meet us in Atlanta on Thursday, August 15, 2019, for Green Lights & Red Flags: FTC Rules of the Road for Business.
The first rule of credit repair is that no credit repair company can remove accurate and timely negative information from someone’s credit report. For credit repair companies that would claim otherwise, there’s CROA – the Credit Repair Organizations Act. It makes it illegal for credit repair companies to lie about what they can do to clear up a clouded credit report, or charge upfront fees before they do the job they promised to do.
The stars are aligning – the privacy and security stars, that is. The FTC’s fourth PrivacyCon convenes today, June 27, 2019. Experts from around the globe will discuss their latest research into privacy and data security, and the consumer protection implications of their findings. Minutes before FTC Chairman Simons convenes PrivacyCon at 9:15 ET this morning, visit the event page to watch the webcast live. Join the discussion on Twitter, using the hashtag #PrivacyCon19.
Hate illegal robocalls? You’re not alone. The FTC hates them, too, as do state Attorneys General and pretty much anyone with a phone. The FTC and state and federal partners teamed up today to announce Operation Call it Quits, the latest salvo in the ongoing fight against robocalls and other illegal telemarketing. We also have tips on how you can help hang up on what many people consider to be Consumer Protection Enemy #1.
Phileas Fogg was famous for going around the world in 80 days, but when it comes to global commerce, consumers can manage the same feat with just one click. Recent FTC actions touch on the international implications of consumer protection.
The state seal of Utah famously depicts a beehive, a symbol of industry and cooperation. Industry and cooperation also have been the hallmarks of the long-standing relationship between the FTC and the Utah Department of Commerce’s Division of Consumer Protection. That’s why we’re proud to announce that the Division is the latest recipient of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Partner Award.
In just a few years, the FTC’s PrivacyCon has become an Information All-Star Game, complete with panels as high-flying or power-hitting as the Slam Dunk Contest or Home Run Derby. (OK. High-flying and power-hitting if you’re a researcher, academic, or advocate interested in data security and consumer privacy.) The FTC just announced the agenda for the fourth annual PrivacyCon on June 27, 2019. Consult your calendar and save the date.
The domino principle. The ripple effect. The butterfly phenomenon. Apply the analogy of your choice to describe what happens when one software developer’s allegedly lax security practices result in the breach of confidential customer information maintained by multiple businesses that use the software.
The FTC and FDA just sent warning letters to four sellers of e-liquids, the nicotine-laced liquid used in vaping. But even if you don’t have clients in that industry, keep reading. The letters have a lot to say about social media marketing and influencers, regardless of the products they pitch.
Humphrey Bogart said it in “The African Queen” and it was a catchphrase popularized by Jon Lovitz on “Saturday Night Live.” But to the FTC, That’s the Ticket is the name of a June 11, 2019, workshop to explore consumer protection issues related to online ticket sales – and the agenda is out now.
Moon Unit Zappa’s 1982 song “Valley Girl” popularized the phrase “gag me with a spoon.” We doubt the lyric “gag me with a form contract clause” would have been a hit, but it’s among the tactics expressly outlawed by the Consumer Review Fairness Act. As two proposed settlements demonstrate, the FTC thinks gag clauses and similar non-disparagement provisions that violate the CRFA are – to quote Ms. Zappa – grody to the max.