Apple recently revised its review guidelines to allow push notifications that include “advertising, promotions, or direct marketing.”  This changes a prior -and longstanding- prohibition on push notices that contain such content. Customers must affirmatively opt in to get promotional push notices, though (“through consent language displayed in your app’s UI”). They must also be able to opt out through an in-app mechanism.  Although promotional push notices were previously prohibited, many apps sent them. These modifications may be a step by Apple to acknowledge this use and put requirements in place around it.
Continue Reading Apple Eases Push Notification and Other Privacy Restrictions

As many who have been tracking CCPA are aware, the law requires training employees who handle consumer inquiries, and ensuring that employees understand how to help consumers exercise their rights. Since most of those rights requests are arriving by web page, email, and phone, it is unlikely that rights requests will slow in the face of COVID-19. Indeed, it is possible that they may increase. Employees will thus still need training, something many companies had anticipated doing in-person.

Coronavirus


Continue Reading Turn On the Camera Part Three: Fulfilling CCPA Training Obligations in the Face of COVID-19

The FTC recently released its annual privacy and security report, providing a snapshot of the issues focused on in the previous year. These reports are often looked at as a signal for insights into the agency’s upcoming priorities. Generally, the report contains a summary of the FTC’s enforcement, advocacy, and rulemaking actions from 2019, a year where we saw several record-setting fines. The report also discusses privacy/security workshops, consumer education, and international engagement. Some of the highlights from 2019 discussed in the report include:
Continue Reading FTC Releases 2019 Privacy and Security Year in Review

As we get settled into the reality of living with both CCPA and GDPR, companies are looking for new approaches for keeping their privacy houses in order. CCPA reminds us that there is no end to new legislation: proposals are already coming in from states as varied as Nebraska, New Hampshire and Virginia. Similar legislative trends exist around the globe. How can companies be prepared to address this ever shifting legislative landscape? There are a few essential steps privacy officers can take, including (1) aligning the privacy team’s efforts with the underlying corporate mission, (2) having a clear understanding of both the company’s data and its use practices, and (3) having infrastructure in place that will allow for updates to notices and rights.
Continue Reading Getting Prepared for a Decade of Privacy

The Network Advertising Initiative, which provides guidance to advertisers who engage in personalized advertising, updated its Code of Conduct (2020 Code) earlier this year to address, inter alia, data collected offline and used for tailored advertising, as well as CCPA and TV-based tailored advertising. In anticipation of the January 1, 2020 effective date of the Code, the NAI recently issued a guidance on how to get “opt-in consent.” While the NAI Code and guidance is applicable only to NAI members, the requirements are important for all to know, since it is these members who typically implement companies’ online behavioral advertising.
Continue Reading NAI’s 2020 Code Effective January 1 Along with CCPA

Tiger Natural Gas, Inc. recently settled a class action privacy suit alleging that it illegally recorded sales calls with over 27,000 potential customers. Although Tiger hired a third party to handle its telemarketing, Tiger will pay $3.7 million on the claims as the advertiser with ultimate liability for non-compliance. According to the plaintiffs, neither company told the consumers the calls were recorded, as is required under California’s call recording law.
Continue Reading Utility Provider Settles Call Recording Lawsuit for $3.7 Million

The Federal Trade Commission is requesting comments and input on the effectiveness of the 2013 amendments it made to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. Although the FTC typically reviews its rules every ten years, it is doing so early because of rapid changes in and children’s expanded use of technology. Part of the input it is seeking is whether the COPPA Rule should be updated again. Among the specific input the FTC has requested, it wants to know if companies and other interested parties believe that the Rule should be amended to include websites and online services that are not directed at children but have large numbers of child users.
Continue Reading FTC Seeks Comments on COPPA Rule

Nevada recently amended its existing online privacy law to give Nevada residents the ability – in certain circumstances – to opt out of the sale of their data to third parties. The amendment goes into effect October 1, 2019, and modifies Nevada’s current requirement that website operators have privacy policies. As amended, companies who must comply with this opt-out requirement will be those who operate websites or online services and sell “covered information” to third parties. Website operators are those who own or operate a website or online service for commercial purposes and collect “covered information” from Nevada residents on its site. There are exceptions, namely if a company is in the state, has less than 20,000 visitors a year to the company’s site, and whose revenue is derived primarily from a source other than selling goods or services on the website. Added to the law will also be exceptions (beginning October 1) for companies that are regulated under GLBA or HIPAA. Covered information is one of seven categories of personal information the operator collects online. The first six are fairly narrow: (1) first and last name; (2) home or other physical address; (3) e-mail address; (4) phone number; (5) Social Security Number; and (6) an identifier that lets a specific person be contacted online (for example, information used to engage in behavioral advertising). The last category, however, is much broader, and includes “any other information” that the website operator collects online and “combines with an identifier” in way that makes the information personally identifiable.
Continue Reading Nevada’s Amended Privacy Law: Groundbreaking or More of the Same?

Two mobile apps directed at children were recently subject to action by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit. The first, “My Talking Tom,” is a virtual pet game for children operated by Outfit7 Limited. One issue was the display of Outfit7’s privacy policy. Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, privacy policies must be understandable, and contain no unrelated material. The app’s policy, however, contained advertisements for other games, and animated balloons that obstructed the user’s view. Accordingly, CARU found that the distracting content violated COPPA. Outfit7 prudently removed the content, and CARU took no further action on the issue.
Continue Reading CARU Takes Action Against Two Mobile Apps

The ICO first began its examination of Bounty UK Ltd. (a support club for parents) when the ICO was investigating the data brokerage industry generally, of which it viewed Bounty as taking part (given that it shared member information with third parties like Acxiom and Equifax). Here, in reaching its conclusion that the company had violated UK privacy laws, the ICO found the volume of sharing in which Bounty engaged “unprecedented,” and accused the company of both “careless data-sharing” as well as violations of the UK law that pre-dated GDPR (the violation having occurred prior to the law’s May 2018 implementation date). Interestingly, the violation has been described by commentators as a “data breach,” although it did not involve the typical “hacker” scenario that one thinks of when contemplating a breach. Instead, the company collected information and shared it with third parties without appropriate notice and consent.
Continue Reading UK ICO Fines Parenting Club £400,000 Over Breach Involving PII of Mothers and Babies

A Dutch e-cigarette company recently settled a self-regulatory inquiry over its online behavioral advertising practices. The Accountability Program (a US self-regulatory group that oversees online and interactive behavioral advertising) found that the company, Fontem, did not provide sufficient methods for individuals to opt out of online behavioral advertising (OBA). The Accountability Program enforces the Digital Advertising Alliance’s online behavioral advertising program. That program requires companies that engage in online behavioral advertising to provide both notice of their OBA practices, and the ability to opt-out.
Continue Reading E-Cig Company Settles Online Behavioral Advertising Inquiry