Blog Posts Tagged with Consumer Privacy

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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.

New FTC publication for mobile app developers

Are you in the mobile app business?  If so, you’re probably considering some important questions, like what to tell users about your app, what information to collect from users, and what to do with any information you collect.  Whether you work for a tech giant or are striking out on your own with that gotta-have-it app, the same truth-in-advertising standards and basic privacy principles apply.

It's back-to-school time: Protecting kids' identities

As back-to-school time approaches, children may be thinking about meeting up with friends to share stories about their summer adventures.  But when it comes to personal information, parents and kids need to be careful about sharing too much.  These days the casual use of sensitive data (like a Social Security number on a registration form, permission slip, or health document) can lead to child identity theft, a serious crime that impacts thousands of kids each year.  Parents can take steps to protect their children from ID theft — and your business can help by sharing free FTC resources in

Track afield: What the FTC's Google case means for your company

After two weeks of talk about track, the trending topic is tracking, including the FTC’s $22.5 million settlement with Google for violating an earlier order.  Google told users of the Safari browser it wouldn’t place tracking cookies or serve them targeted ads, but the FTC charged that the company’s tracking practices went far afield of its claims.  Of course, the terms of that settlement apply just to Google, but there’s a lot savvy

Milking cookies: The FTC's $22.5 million settlement with Google

There’s been a lot of talk about breaking records these past few weeks.  But here’s one you won’t see on the sports pages:  the FTC’s $22.5 million settlement with Google, the largest civil penalty ever against a single defendant.  The penalty stems from FTC charges that Google didn’t give users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser the straight story about the use of tracking cookies.  That, says the FTC, violated the terms of Google’s 2011 privacy settlement.

Court finds litany of violations in alcoholism "cure" case

People who signed up with the Jacksonville-based Alcoholism Cure Corporation were promised a “scientifically proven” program that “cures alcoholism while allowing alcoholics to drink socially.”  What they got was a shopping list, instructions to take handfuls of unproven supplements, and a particularly troubling surprise when they tried to cancel their membership.

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