Businesses have wised up that their customers are concerned about privacy. That’s why privacy promises, like any other claim you convey, have to be truthful. So when you describe how you use — and don’t use — people’s information, be sure to give them the straight story, avoiding steps that would undermine their privacy choices. That’s the nuts-and-bolts conclusion companies should draw from the FTC’s settlement with ScanScout, the first agency action addressing Flash cookies.
Blog Posts Tagged with Consumer Privacy
In celebration of Halloween — and with apologies to Edgar Allen Poe — here’s our take on what companies can do to make sure spooky business practices don’t come back to haunt them.
Once upon a midnight lawful
Pondering practices, good and awful,
Reading through the U.S. Code
For dos and don’ts I parse and claw.
I came upon the Trade Commission’s
Section 5 with all revisions.
When people get the latest software, app, or gizmo, it comes with default settings configured by the company responsible for the product. The FTC’s settlement with Frostwire, a developer of free peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software, raises interesting issues for industry. When can a company’s choice of default settings amount to an unfair practice under Section 5 of the FTC Act? And when can a company’s representations about default settings be considered deceptive?
When a retailer closes its doors, what’s the effect on privacy promises the company made to its customers? The business community and bankruptcy bar have been watching with interest what’s going on in the bankruptcy of former book and video seller Borders. Are you up on the latest developments?
When a major retailer declares bankruptcy, it can be a devastating day. But what about the mounds of customer information the company has compiled over the years? When a company closes its doors, what effect does bankruptcy have on a business’ privacy promises?
What can you tell about someone just from their face? Is it possible to take a picture of strangers and find out their name, where they’re from, and maybe even a portion of their Social Security number? Shocking as it sounds, recent research suggests the answer could be yes.
It used to be that the biggest issues at back-to-school time were finding everything on the school supplies list and remembering who likes the crusts cut off the brown bag PB&J. But nowadays, responsible adults need to consider the risks if children’s personal information — like a Social Security number on a registration form, permission slip, or health document — winds up in the wrong hands. When kids are victims of identity theft, the crime may go undetected for years. But by the time they’re old enough to get a job or apply for a student loan, the damage has been done.
The FTC just announced more settlements with companies that falsely promised to help homeowners facing foreclosure. “Not relevant to our business,” you say? Think again.
OK, now that it’s just us, here’s a reminder that most resources in the BCP Business Center are in the public domain. Thus, according to 17 U.S.C. § 105, they’re not subject to copyright restrictions. (Sorry for the citation. Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.) So you’re free to download, link, paste, tweet, like, dislike, and otherwise use FTC materials.
Savvy executives like to stay in the loop on FTC activities that could affect their industry. They make it a habit to scan the headlines or check for relevant workshops or reports. But there’s a third category of information a bit less understood: closing letters from BCP staff.
In the spirit of transparency, the agency posts them online. Here in the BCP Business Center, recent letters appear in the Compliance Documents section of each topic area.
Today, tech-savvy entrepreneurs use mobile apps to build buzz, save money, and stay in touch on the go. But how can you make sure all those apps you buy protect your privacy, keep your data secure, and wind up costing you exactly the advertised price? OnGuardOnline, the federal government’s online safety and security site, has some questions to consider before you click DOWNLOAD.
Years ago any conversation about kids’ identities was about sewing name tags in their clothes before they left for summer camp. How times have changed.
Those were the allegations in the FTC’s complaint against Google. What changes will the agency’s proposed settlement bring about at the company?
As any business knows, it is indeed a small world after all. And the FTC’s recent settlement with Google related to the launch of its Google Buzz social network demonstrates why it’s important for companies to think about the global ramifications of their privacy practices.
According to the FTC’s recent settlement with Google, when people declined to sign up for Google Buzz, the company’s new social network, Google nonetheless enrolled them in certain features without their consent.
But what about people who clicked the link that said “Sweet! Check out Buzz”? The FTC’s complaint alleged that they, too, weren’t adequately informed that certain information that had been private — including the people they chatted with or emailed most often — would be shared publicly by default.
Following the ongoing discussion about behavioral advertising? The FTC’s first online behavioral advertising case against a network advertiser offers insights into the agency's approach.
Consumers have found their voice. And last year they raised it more than 1.3 million times to complain about identity theft, fraud, and products that didn’t live up to the advertising hype.
Break out the bubbly and raise a toast: It's National Consumer Protection Week. NCPW is an annual campaign sponsored by the FTC and nearly 30 other federal agencies, consumer groups, and advocacy organizations, in conjunction with state, county, and local government offices that are sponsoring events nationwide. The goal? To encourage consumers to take full advantage of their rights and make better-informed decisions.
If you work in the health care or HR field or have clients who do, you’ve probably run across it. A patient complains about a bill for medical services they didn’t receive. An employee who rarely goes to the doctor gets told they’ve reached the limit on their health benefits. Someone gets denied coverage because their medical records show a condition they don’t have.
Just finishing your review of the preliminary FTC staff report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Business and Policymakers? There’s good news. The FTC has extended the deadline for comments to Friday, February 18th.