Blog Posts Tagged with Consumer Privacy

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Gone with the wind?

A mobile app that lets users send photo and video messages that recipients can look at for a moment before the content is, in effect, gone with the wind?  Scarlett O’Hara could have declared her love for Rhett Butler (or Ashley Wilkes), confident that the message was ephemeral.  Of course, residents of Tara didn’t have access to the popular app Snapchat, which claimed to do just that.  But according to an FTC settlement, the company’s promise that Snapchat me

Checking up on consumer generated health information

Whether it’s a website where people diagnosed with the same medical condition can share their stories or an app to find out how long it will take in the gym to burn off a Macadamia Mania Ripple sundae, consumers are taking their health in their own hands – and generating a massive amount of digital data in the process.  If you or your clients have jumped into this burgeoning market, here’s a development you’ll want to follow.

Big day to talk big data

It’s funny how kids sometimes mishear famous phrases – for example, “And lead us not into Penn Station” or the confused Elton John lyric “Hold me closer, Tony Danza.”  We once heard first graders end the Pledge of Allegiance by saying “One nation, individual, with liberty and justice for all.”  On second thought, maybe they were on to something.  Analytics techniques are out there that categorize consumers and make predictions about individual behavior.  For sure, it can offer insights to advance medical research, transportation, manufacturing, etc.  But to what extent can big data

FTC staff to Facebook and WhatsApp: Privacy promises prevail

When one company acquires another, there’s usually a lot of discussion about how to harmonize divergent procedures – everything from personnel policies to buying paper clips.  But a letter to executives at Facebook and WhatsApp from Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, should remind businesses there's one thing that doesn’t change: privacy promises made to customers.

Business execs: 7 things to consider before using that app

Every tech publication seems to have a list of best apps for business.  Whether the goal is to analyze corporate cash flow or avoid the dreaded middle seat that doesn’t recline, there’s an app for the task.  But have you considered the kind of sensitive customer or employee information some apps let you transmit?  Developers may claim to take steps to secure the data, but as the FTC’s proposed settlements with Fandango and Credit Karma demonstrate,

What’s a predictive score?

Most consumers know that creditors use information about them and their credit experiences – like the number and type of accounts they have, their bill paying history, and whether they pay their bills on time – to create a credit score, which helps predict how creditworthy they are.

The best 30-second investment you’ll make all day

Familiar with Fantage?  If you have kids, they probably are.  It’s a MMORPG – a massively multiplayer online role-playing game – where millions of children customize avatars to play online games in a virtual world.  According to the FTC, there are a few more initials this MMORPG will want to be mindful of in the future:  the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework.

What’s this “mall tracking” I’ve been hearing about?

Consumers may not know it, but there are technologies out there that let retailers and others track their movements within and around stores and other attractions through their mobile devices.  Businesses can use the information to identify trends in consumer behavior, plan sales and promotions, and more efficiently staff their stores and structure check-out (although no matter how sophisticated the technology, we always manage to choose the slow-moving line).

50th data security settlement offers golden opportunity to check your practices

Imagine doing a routine online search and having the search engine serve up files that include medical histories, notes from psychiatric sessions and children’s medical exams, sensitive information about drug abuse or pregnancy loss, and personal data like Social Security and driver’s license numbers.  That suggests a breach that “uh-oh” doesn’t begin to cover.  The FTC’s lawsuit against GMR Transcription Services –

Shedding light on what your app is up to: 3 lessons for developers

Goldenshores Technologies’ “Brightest Flashlight Free” is an incredibly popular Android app downloaded by tens of millions of consumers.  But did those people know that when they used the app, it would transmit their precise location and unique device identifier to third parties, including ad networks?  According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, Goldenshores didn’t give people the straight story about how their information would be used and then compounded the problem by making them think they could exercise a choice about it – a “cho

And now for something completely different

Take out your mobile device where you input all that personal information and make note of three upcoming FTC events where the topic of conversation will be, well, the collection and use of all that personal information.  But this time we're switching things up a bit.  The FTC's Spring Privacy Series will consist of three two-hour seminars focused on emerging issues that consumers, industry groups, consumer advocates, and academics are starting to talk about.

In a world . . .

In a world where your coffee pot secretly notifies your toaster that you’re ready for breakfast, one agency dares to stand up and ask the question others won’t:  Just what are the consumer privacy and security implications?

How Aaron's erred: What your business should take from the latest spycam case

Remember the cases the FTC announced last year against a software developer and rent-to-own stores that secretly monitored people in their homes?  Unbeknownst to consumers, computers came installed with a program called PC Rental Agent.  When the software was in “Detective Mode,” companies could remotely activate the camera — meaning they were surreptitiously snapping, transmitting, and storing pictures of anything in the range of the webcam.

App developers and privacy: An invitation to hone your skills

App developers, add this to your schedule. On Wednesday, October 23, 2013, the Application Developers Alliance, working with the FTC and the California Attorney General, will present a Mobile Privacy Summit in Santa Monica, California.  Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, will kick off a day of panels to help you understand industry best practices and requirements to protect the privacy of mobile app users.

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 pot

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