OpenX Technologies recently agreed to pay $2 million to settle FTC allegations that the advertising platform violated the FTC Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. OpenX runs a programmatic ad exchange, running a bidding platform that auctions online ad space. The company contracts with publishers who have open ad space as well as ad networks with inventories of ads they are seeking to publish online.

Continue Reading OpenX Ad Exchange Settles With FTC Over Alleged COPPA and Other Violations

The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a new enforcement policy statement about “dark patterns:” programs that attempt to “trap” consumers into service contracts. These programs usually take the form of negative option marketing programs, according to the FTC, and are regulated under most states’ laws as well as the Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act (ROSCA).

Continue Reading FTC To Focus Enforcement Efforts on Dark Patterns

The FTC recently announced a final rule updating its GLBA Safeguards Rule to “strengthen the data security safeguards” of consumer financial information. The FTC reported that it was making these changes in response to widespread data breaches and cyberattacks.  As we reported in our sister blog, the changes will mean that a broad range of non-banking financial institutions may need to make updates to their data security policies and procedures. The new requirements go into effect in November 2022.

Continue Reading Non-Banking Institutions Will Want to Review Security Measures in Light of Update to Safeguards Rule

The FTC recently settled with a surveillance app operator over allegations that the company facilitated the secret harvesting of personal information. According to the FTC, the main users of Support King, LLC’s “SpyFone” app were bad actors who used the tool to remotely monitor users’ physical and digital activities. The FTC dismissed the company’s argument that the users were employers and parents as a “pretext.” It felt neither group would want to use the product, which to install required minimizing the device’s security settings and potentially voiding the device warranty.

Continue Reading FTC Surveillance App Settlement Signals Concern Over Deceptive Tracking

The use of apps, wearables, and other devices used to track health and wellness data have continued to rise. The FTC again signaled its focus on this growing industry in a statement on the scope of the Health Breach Notification Rule. In the statement, the FTC called out specific types of apps and trackers that it views as having notification obligations under this rule.

Continue Reading FTC Warns Digital Health Industry to Comply with its Breach Notification Rule

The FTC recently announced the removal of Aristotle International, Inc. from the list of seven approved safe harbor programs under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. Programs that are approved by the FTC must place requirements on participating organizations that are the same -or greater- than the requirements of COPPA. (As we have reported in the past, COPPA requires, inter alia, getting verified parental consent before collecting personal information from children online.) Companies that participate in those approved COPPA safe harbor programs are deemed in compliance with COPPA. Such protection can be valuable with a law, like COPPA, that has been found to be confusing to operationalize.

Continue Reading A COPPA First: Safe Harbor Program Removed From Approved List

The FTC recently voted to authorize the use of compulsory processes—the FTC’s primary investigatory tools—on what it calls “key law enforcement priorities.” The resolutions allow investigators to take actions like issuing subpoenas and civil investigations demands (commonly referred to as “CIDs”) in a variety of areas. Of note is the inclusion of both healthcare markets and technology platforms, signaling a potential FTC interest in those sectors.

Continue Reading FTC Signals Focus on Healthcare and Technology Platforms, Among Others

MoviePass, a movie subscription service, has agreed to a proposed settlement with the FTC over alleged deception and lack of security allegations. The now-defunct company not only allegedly marketed its service as a “one movie per day” service – yet took steps to actively deny subscribers such access – it also failed, according to the FTC, to secure subscriber’s personal data. The company also was alleged to have violated the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confident Act, which impacts the offering of “negative option” (subscription) services.
Continue Reading FTC Settles Security Claims With Both MoviePass and Its Owners

The Supreme Court recently dealt a potential blow to the FTC’s enforcement tool chest.  In particular, the decision impacts its ability to seek monetary relief under a theory it has used in a wide variety of cases, included privacy and security ones, that monetary relief constitutes a “permanent injunction” on consumers’ behalf. In AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission, the Supreme Court held that while the FTC should be able to obtain injunctive relief to stop unfair practices, that power does not extend to seeking monetary relief for injured consumers.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Decision Impacts How FTC May Pursue Privacy Cases