Blog Posts Tagged with Consumer Privacy

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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

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.

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.

Get smart?

The people with really cool glasses and fancier gadgets than the rest of us call it "the Internet of Things" — the fact that everyday devices are starting to communicate with each other and with us.  Already we can use a smartphone to start the car, turn on the AC before we get home, and have the doctor monitor the trajectory of our blood pressure in traffic.  But what if when we drive near a grocery store, our refrigerator lets us know we’re low on milk?  Would that be convenient?  Disconcerting?  Or maybe a little bit of both?

Batten down the patches: Six points to take from the FTC settlement with HTC

By now, you’ve read about the FTC’s settlement with HTC — the agency’s first law enforcement action against a mobile device manufacturer.  According to the complaint, when HTC customized the operating systems used on many of its products, it introduced security vulnerabilities that put users’ sensitive information at risk.  In addition to requiring implementation of a comprehensive security program, the

12 tips toward kick-app mobile security

Before you start marketing your app, let’s go through the TO DO list.

Does it deliver on what you say it can do?  Check.
Have you thought through your marketing strategy?  Check.
Does it look like app stores might be interested?  Check.
Ready?  Not so fast.  There’s an indispensible step you may be overlooking.  But there’s good news:  The FTC has 12 tips to make that task easier.

FTC Path case helps app developers stay on the right, er, path

In the few years it’s been up and running, Path has billed itself as a different kind of social network.  According to a description of its "Values," "Path should be private by default.  Forever.  You should always be in control of your information and experience."  It’s a lovely sentiment.  Except that according to an FTC law enforcement action, it wasn’t private by default.  It wasn’t private forever.  Users weren’t in control of their information and experience.  And let’s not forget the alleged violation of the Children’s Online Pr

Going for broke(r)

Until recently, most consumers — and a whole lot of businesses — were unfamiliar with the operations of the data broker industry.  Data brokers collect personal information from a variety of public and non-public sources and resell it to other companies.  No doubt, there are economic benefits to the flow of certain kinds of information.  But legislators, law enforcers, and others have raised concerns about the privacy implications of what goes on behind the scenes.

The Big Picture

Are you and your clients taking in The Big Picture?  That’s what the FTC is calling its December 6, 2012, workshop on comprehensive online data collection.  The event will gather consumer groups, academics, industry representatives, privacy professionals, and others to look at the current state of comprehensive data collection, its risks and potential benefits, and where it could be going in the future.

Enforceable Codes of Conduct: Protecting Consumers Across Borders

Business has gone global, but how should consumers be protected when transactions cross borders?  The FTC is hosting a forum on Thursday, November 29, 2012, to talk about the role of enforceable industry codes of conduct to protect consumers in cross-border commerce.  What’s on the agenda?  Systems where government entities, businesses, consumer groups, and others develop and administer voluntary procedures that govern areas outside of traditional government oversight.

Calling for back-up

Everybody needs a wingman — somebody there just in case you need back-up.  When it comes to explaining the consumer protection basics of mobile apps to client and colleagues, you’ve got a wingman at the ready.

It’s called Marketing Your Mobile App: Get It Right From the Start.  It’s a to-the-point brochure from the FTC outlining fundamental truth-in-advertising and privacy principles for app developers.  The brochures focuses on time-tested tips like:

Facing Facts

Say facial recognition and it’s easy for people to get all Minority Report-ish.  But it’s no longer science fiction.  If you’ve uploaded a photo to try on a pair of glasses or check yourself out with a different hairstyle, you’ve used a form of the technology.  Marketers are taking advantage, too, using facial characteristics like gender or age to serve up targeted ads in retail spots.

Do you do B2B?

Old Blue Eyes wasn’t in the tech biz, but before giving the ring-a-ding-ding to a B2B transaction that allows partners to share customer data through software one company licenses to the other, we’re guessing he would have agreed with some basic principles derived from the FTC’s proposed settlement with web analytics company Compete, Inc.

Be clear about what you collect

Twenty years ago nobody told their third grade classmates they wanted to go into web analytics when they grew up.  But unlike cowboys and dinosaur wranglers, the analytics business is booming.  Information about consumer behavior can offer companies helpful insights to boost web traffic and sales.  But as a recent FTC settlement suggests, it’s wise to be transparent about your practices and take reasonable and appropriate measures to keep sensitive information secure.

Private eyes: Lessons from the rent-to-own webcam cases

The charges outlined in the FTC’s lawsuits against a software business and seven rent-to-own companies are surprising — and OK, some might say a little creepy.  Software on rented computers gave the companies the ability to hit the kill switch if people were behind on their payments.  But according to the complaints, it also let them collect sensitive personal information, grab screen shots, and take webcam photos of people in their homes.

"I always feel like somebody's watching me"

Paranoid delusion from 80s R&B artist Rockwell?  Not necessarily, if he had used a computer from a rent-to-own store.  Because according to lawsuits filed by the FTC, many stores — including franchisees of Aaron’s, ColorTyme, and Premier Rental Purchase — spied on their customers through secret software that logged key strokes, captured screen shots, and in some cases, remotely activated the computer’s webcam to take pictures of people in their homes.  Huh?  Yeah, really.

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