The Federal Trade Commission today released its annual privacy and security update for 2019, highlighting a record year for enforcement actions aimed at protecting consumer privacy and data security.
For example, the Commission levied a $5 billion penalty—the largest consumer privacy penalty ever—against Facebook for violating its 2012 FTC privacy order and imposed new restrictions on the social network’s business operations. The FTC also obtained a record $170 million penalty against YouTube and Google for alleged violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In its first case involving a stalking app, the Commission alleged that Retina-X enabled its apps to be used for illegitimate purposes and in violation of COPPA.
On the data security front, the FTC—along with 50 states and territories and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—announced a global settlement totaling as much as $700 million with Equifax related to a 2017 data breach that affected approximately 147 million consumers.
The FTC also continued its strong enforcement of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework by bringing 13 cases in 2019 against companies that allegedly made false promises related to the Privacy Shield.
In addition to its law enforcement work, the FTC held four privacy-related events in 2019, including an examination of consumer privacy as part of the Commission’s Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century; the FTC’s fourth annual PrivacyCon event highlighting cutting-edge privacy research; a workshop examining the COPPA Rule; and a workshop examining consumer report accuracy.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Juliana Gruenwald Henderson
Office of Public Affairs