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.
Blog Posts Tagged with Consumer Privacy
It was Shakespeare who asked “What’s in a name?” If you and your clients keep tabs on the latest legal developments in social networking and reputation management, you’ll want to read the FTC’s complaint against the website Jerk.com – how’s that for a name?
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,
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.
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.
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).
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 –
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
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 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?
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, 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.
In the words of the old TV show, “Smile. You’re on Candid Camera.” But according to an FTC lawsuit alleging lax security by a company selling internet cameras, for the hundreds of consumers whose private lives were watched online, there was nothing to smile about.
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
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.
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.
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?
Consumers have made it clear: They want to know what their apps are up to. And when it comes to apps for kids, italicize that, put it in ALL CAPS, and multiply by 10. That’s why the FTC has released a new way of letting parents know just what their kids’ apps may be doing. Savvy app developers will want to take a look, too.
Paper, Plastic, . . . Mobile? The question isn’t about how you bag your groceries — it’s about how you pay for them. Are you going to use cold hard cash?