Analysis of Proposed Consent Order to Aid Public Comment
Guess?, Inc. and Guess.com, inc., File No. 0223260
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject
to final approval, a consent agreement from Guess?, Inc. and Guess.com, inc.
The consent agreement has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments
by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After
thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will
decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement and take appropriate action or make final the
agreement's proposed order.
Guess is an international company that designs and produces men's, women's, and children's clothing and
accessory products. The company's products are marketed, distributed, and sold under various Guess
brand names through its own stores, a limited number of independent retailers, and, its online store at
www.guess.com. This matter concerns alleged false or misleading representations Guess made to
consumers about the security of personal information collected online through www.guess.com, Guess'
The Commission's proposed complaint alleges that Guess misrepresented that the personal information it
obtained from consumers through www.guess.com was stored in an unreadable, encrypted format at all
times. The complaint alleges that this representation was false because a commonly known attack could
and was used to gain access in clear readable text to sensitive personal information, including credit card
numbers, that Guess obtained from consumers.
The proposed complaint also alleges that Guess represented that it implemented reasonable and
appropriate measures to protect the personal information it obtained from consumers through
www.guess.com against loss, misuse, or alteration. The complaint alleges this representation was false
because Guess did not employ appropriate measures to detect reasonably foreseeable vulnerabilities and
prevent their exploitation.
The proposed order applies to Guess' collection and storage of personal information from or about
consumers in connection with its online business. It contains provisions designed to prevent Guess from
engaging in practices similar to those alleged in the complaint in the future.
Specifically, Part I of the proposed order prohibits Guess, in connection with the online advertising,
marketing, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of any product or service, from misrepresenting the extent
to which it maintains and protects the security, confidentiality, or integrity of any personal information
collected from or about consumers.
Part II of the proposed order requires Guess to establish and maintain a comprehensive information security
program in writing that is reasonably designed to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of
personal information collected from or about consumers. The security program must contain administrative,
technical, and physical safeguards appropriate to Guess's size and complexity, the nature and scope of its
activities, and the sensitivity of the personal information collected from or about consumers. Specifically,
the order requires Guess to:
- Designate an employee or employees to coordinate
and be accountable for the information
- Identify material internal and external risks to
the security, confidentiality, and integrity of customer information that
could result in the unauthorized disclosure, misuse, loss,
alteration, destruction, or other compromise of such information, and assess
the sufficiency of any safeguards in place to control these risks. At a
minimum, this risk assessment must
include consideration of risks in each area of relevant operation.
- Design and implement reasonable safeguards to control
the risks identified through risk assessment, and regularly test or monitor
the effectiveness of the safeguards' key controls,
systems, and procedures.
- Evaluate and adjust its information security program
in light of the results of testing and monitoring, any material changes
to its operations or business arrangements, or any other
circumstances that Guess knows or has reason to know may have a material impact
information security program.
Part III of the proposed order requires that Guess obtain within one year, and on a biannual basis
thereafter, an assessment and report from a qualified, objective, independent third-party professional,
certifying that: (1) Guess has in place a security program that provides protections that meet or exceed the
protections required by Part II of this order; and (2) Guess's security program is operating with sufficient
effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance that the security, confidentiality, and integrity of consumer's
personal information has been protected.
Parts IV through VII of the proposed order are reporting
and compliance provisions. Part IV requires Guess's to retain documents relating
to compliance. For most records, the order requires that the
documents be retained for a five-year period. For the assessments and supporting
documents, Guess must retain the documents for three years after the date
that each assessment is prepared. Part V requires
dissemination of the order now and in the future to persons with responsibilities
relating to the subject matter of the order. Part VI ensures notification
to the FTC of changes in corporate status. Part VII mandates
that Guess submit compliance reports to the FTC. Part VIII is a provision "sunsetting" the
twenty (20) years, with certain exceptions.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to
constitute an official interpretation of the proposed order or to modify their terms in any way.