International Monthly: October 2017

 U.S. Competition, Consumer Protection and Privacy News



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FTC, DOJ Issue Fiscal Year 2016 Hart Scott Rodino Premerger Notification Report

The FTC, together with the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, released the agencies’ 39th Annual Hart-Scott-Rodino Report. The report covers all premerger notification and merger enforcement activity initiated between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016. The related blog, Diving into the data in the HSR Report, notes no appreciable change in the number of transactions subject to initial and in-depth reviews or merger enforcement action.

FTC Conditions Acquisition of Alere by Abbott Labs

The FTC required Abbott Laboratories to divest two types of point-of-care medical testing devices to settle charges that Abbott’s proposed $8.3 billion acquisition of Alere Inc. likely would harm competition in the United States.

FTC Conditions Integra’s Acquisition of Johnson & Johnson Division

The FTC required divestiture of 5 medical device product lines as a condition of clearing Integra’s $1 billion acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s Codman Neuro Division. The divestitures are intended to preserve competition in 5 U.S. markets for medical devices used in neurosurgery.

Consumer Protection and Privacy

FTC Earns Prestigious International Award for Data Breach Investigation; Shares Honor with Privacy Law Authorities in Australia and Canada

The FTC, along with privacy law enforcement agencies in Australia and Canada, has received a data protection award from the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) for its cross-border investigation of the massive data breach in July 2015. The breach affected consumers in nearly 50 countries.

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Operator of Online Tax Preparation Service Agrees to Settle FTC Charges That it Violated Financial Privacy and Security Rules

TaxSlayer, LLC, a Georgia-based online tax preparation service, will settle FTC charges that it violated federal financial privacy and security rules, allowing hackers to gain full access to nearly 9,000 TaxSlayer accounts. The hackers allegedly used the information they accessed to file fraudulent tax returns to steal people’s tax refunds.

In Other News

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FTC Testifies Before U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging on the Continuing Fight to Combat Illegal Robocalls

The FTC testified before a U.S. Senate Special Committee that the agency is continuing its efforts on behalf of American consumers to combat illegal telemarketing robocalls through aggressive law enforcement, initiatives to spur technological solutions, and robust consumer education and business outreach. Robocallers frequently use fraud and deception to pitch their goods and services, leading to significant economic harm.


FTC Testifies on Competitive Effects of Occupational Licensing Restrictions

In testimony presented to a U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee, Acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen described the FTC’s extensive work on the potential anticompetitive effects of excessive occupational licensing through research, education, advocacy, and enforcement.

FTC to Hold Workshop on Competition Issues in Prescription Drug Markets

The FTC will hold a public workshop on November 8, entitled, “Understanding Competition in Prescription Drug Markets: Entry and Supply Chain Dynamics.” The link to a live webcast will be posted here on the day of the event.

FTC Announces Workshop on Informational Injury

The FTC will host a workshop on December 12 to examine questions about the injury consumers suffer when information about them is misused. The workshop will address how best to characterize and measure these injuries. It will explore what factors businesses and consumers consider when they evaluate potential tradeoffs of collecting, using, or providing information while also potentially increasing the risk of injury.

FTC, Department of Education Announce Workshop to Explore Privacy Issues Related to Education Technology

As schools continue to find new ways to enhance learning through technology, they must also ensure these efforts comply with federal laws designed to protect the privacy of children and students. The FTC and the Department of Education will co-host an Ed Tech Workshop on December 1 to look at new privacy and data security concerns and challenges that the increasing use of technology in elementary and secondary education raises.

Millions Look to FTC for Equifax Breach Info

The recent Equifax data breach resulted in millions of views of FTC consumer information, including a blog post providing consumers with information about the breach and steps they could take. The FTC blog post got as many as 11,000 page views per minute.

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FTC Explains Affiliate Marketing in Online Advertising

A “free” trial offer may be tempting, but it could be a scam. An FTC blog post, What’s affiliate marketing? Should I care?, describes how affiliate marketing works and how to avoid scams.


FTC Holds Twitter Chat on Social Media Influencer Disclosures

The FTC held a Twitter chat to address a range of issues surrounding disclosures social media influencers must make if they are compensated by, or have some other material relationship with, a brand or product they post about. See @FTC using the hashtag #Influencers101.