Category Archives: Federal Trade Commission

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FTC Announces Settlement of “Made in USA” Litigation

Earlier this week, the FTC announced settlement of one of the few “Made in USA” cases the agency has litigated in recent years.  Earlier this year, we sent an update regarding the FTC’s lawsuit against Chemence, Inc., in which the FTC alleged that Chemence was deceiving consumers by claiming that their glues were “Made in … Continue Reading

Protected: 2016 Advertising and Privacy Law Summit Attendee Follow up

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Senate Commerce Committee Members Air Laundry List of Pressing Issues Including Privacy, Data Security, and FTC Enforcement

On September 27th, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a general oversight hearing of the FTC, which covered a multitude of major policy issues and included testimony from Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen, and Commissioner Terrell McSweeny.  Chairman John Thune (R-SD) convened the hearing, joined by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who … Continue Reading

FTC Bureau Director Highlights Continuing Health-Related Enforcement, Homeopathic Guidance, and ROSCA at NAD Conference

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, highlighted the agency’s enforcement priorities at the National Advertising Division’s annual conference earlier this week.  Key mentions included the following: Health Claims and Sensitive Populations – With health claims being a constant enforcement priority, Ms. Rich referenced cases involving cognition claims, alleged diabetes cures, and … Continue Reading

Caution with Hyperlinks and Info-Hovers: Court Denies DIRECTV’S Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

Are hyperlinked and hovering disclosures enough to adequately inform consumers about the terms of your offer? Is requiring consumers to click on a button to accept all terms and conditions enough to obtain their informed consent to each of your terms and conditions? A recent federal court decision demonstrates that the answers to those questions … Continue Reading

“Follow the Lead” Recap: FTC Summarizes Takeaways from Workshop on Lead Generation

The FTC released last week a paper summarizing and reflecting on its October 30, 2015 public workshop, “Follow the Lead,” which we previously discussed here and focused on lead generation practices and related privacy and consumer protection issues.  The paper expands upon many of the same principles addressed at the workshop, including how lead generation … Continue Reading

Beyond “Clear and Conspicuous”: FTC Workshop Highlights Issues Related to Testing of Consumer Disclosures

On advertisements, websites, and legal documents, disclosures are everywhere.  But how do consumers notice, understand, and use disclosures in their decision-making?  And how can businesses and advertisers effectively design and evaluate disclosures?  These were questions that the Federal Trade Commission explored during its September 15 public workshop, “Putting Disclosures to the Test.”  Throughout the one-day … Continue Reading

Health Claim Substantiation Has Not Gone to the Dogs

The FTC announced a settlement with Mars Petcare U.S. concerning allegations that the company did not have proper substantiation to support quantified health benefit claims for its Eukanuba brand dog food. The FTC’s complaint alleges that a 2015 ad campaign for Eukanuba expressly or impliedly claimed that the dog food could increase the lifespan of … Continue Reading

Connected Toys, Augmented Reality as the Next Big (Io)Thing

PokemonThere has been an uptick in congressional inquiries regarding privacy concerns in the IoT space.  And most recently in the gaming world of augmented reality.  On Tuesday, Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) initiated a congressional investigation into Niantic, Inc., maker of the Pokémon Go app that has taken the world by storm.  The app uses a smartphone’s … Continue Reading

A Pound of Flesh Just Got Heavier

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that it has approved final amendments to Commission Rule 1.98 that adjust the maximum civil penalty dollar amounts for violations of 16 provisions of law the FTC enforces, as required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 (“Adjustment Act”), which requires federal agencies to implement a … Continue Reading

FTC Updates Consumer Guidance for Online Tracking

On June 23, the FTC updated its consumer information page to provide updated guidance on “Online Tracking.”  The updated guidance is intended to provide consumers with information on different methods of tracking, how they work, and how consumers can control such tracking.  While directed to consumers, updates to this page can also help businesses understand … Continue Reading

Going Geo-Loco: FTC Settles with Mobile Ad Network over Geolocation Collection

The FTC announced a settlement on Wednesday with mobile advertising company, InMobi Pte Ltd., concerning allegations that the company deceptively tracked the geolocation of hundreds of millions of unknowing consumers, including children, to serve them geo-targeted advertising.  As part of the settlement, InMobi will pay $950,000 in civil penalties relating to violations of the Children’s … Continue Reading

Some Things are Best Kept Private: FTC Settles with Company for Using Private Health Data in Public Physician Reviews

physicianreviewThe FTC recently reinforced its commitment to protecting consumer health data in its settlement with electronic health record company Practice Fusion.  The company, which stores consumer health data in a cloud for healthcare providers, was charged with misleading consumers when it sought patients’ reviews of their doctors without disclosing that the information would be shared … Continue Reading

It’s Not Just In Your Head: FTC Announces Yet Another Brain Health Settlement

BTThe FTC recently announced another settlement involving a cognitive health product.  According to the FTC’s complaint, LearningRx Franchise Corp. and its CEO, Dr. Ken Gibson, deceptively claimed that their brain training programs were clinically proven to permanently improve serious health conditions like ADHD, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and concussions and that the training substantially … Continue Reading

Texas Settles with PayPal over Money Transfer App Advertising and Privacy Practices

On Friday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced a settlement with PayPal, resolving allegations that its Venmo money transfer app violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by failing to clearly disclose how consumers’ phone contacts would be used, or how consumers’ transactions and interactions with other users would be shared, and misrepresenting that communications … Continue Reading

Federal Court Finds Amazon Liable for Kids’ In-App Purchases

Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that Amazon is liable for permitting unauthorized in-app purchases incurred by children.  Amazon is the last in a series of actions brought by the FTC against third-party platforms related to kids’ in-app charges (we previously blogged about the other two actions against Apple and Google here and here, which resulted in … Continue Reading

FTC’s “All Natural” Cases Are More About “All” Than “Natural”

All NaturalThe Federal Trade Commission announced last week filing of four consent decrees and an administrative complaint relating to companies selling various personal care products – shampoos, sunscreens, moisturizers – featuring claims such as “all natural” or “100% natural.”  The FTC alleges that these claims were false or misleading because all of the products at issue … Continue Reading

‘Smart’ Ways To Avoid FTC Internet Of Things Scrutiny

Hutnik - Skelton Law360Connected devices have existed in the marketplace in one form or another for decades (think vending machines or weather sensors). Yet, a confluence of forces in recent years has helped spur a mass proliferation of technology in the “Internet of Things,” and with it, the collection and analytics of big data. Demand is high to … Continue Reading

Think Before You App: FTC Releases Compliance Tools for Health App Developers

Using the Health app on an iPhone 6.The Federal Trade Commission furthered its outreach to the mobile app developer community last week by issuing new guidance for integrating privacy and security into mobile health apps, as well as an interactive online tool for determining whether key laws apply. As referenced in Consumer Protection Bureau Director Rich’s testimony a few weeks ago, the … Continue Reading

From Big Data to Bacon to Bots: Who will be Under FTC’s Watchful Eye Next?

At last week’s Strata + Hadoop Worldwide Big Data Conference those “in the know” about all things Silicon Valley prophesized that “data is the new bacon.”  Witty comparisons aside, there is no question that big data has matured.  Companies across all industry types are clamoring to leverage every possible gigabyte of available consumer data.  As … Continue Reading

No Free Passes: FTC Highlights Health Privacy in Congressional Testimony

In testimony to a Congressional subcommittee last week, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director, Jessica Rich, explained the Commission’s efforts to protect consumers’ health data and repeated the Commission’s request for additional authority to go even further.  Bureau Director Rich began by noting the proliferation of consumer-directed health products, such as websites, wearable technology, and … Continue Reading

Can You Hear Me Now? Audio Snooping Triggers FTC Warning to Mobile App Developers

This week, a dozen mobile app developers received warning letters from the FTC concerning audio monitoring software used in their apps, but not clearly disclosed to consumers. The app developers allegedly used software development kits created by a company called SilverPush.  The warning letters explain that SilverPush makes a “Unique Audio Beacon” technology available for … Continue Reading

FTC Requests Auditors’ Data on PCI Data Security Assessments

Earlier this week, the FTC issued orders to nine credit card and payment security auditors in an effort to gain insight into data security compliance auditing and its role in protecting consumers’ information and privacy. The orders contain detailed questions concerning the assessment process for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (“PCI DSS”) compliance, including the policies … Continue Reading

The Carrot and the Stick: FTC’s Letter Evidences Flexible Yet Firm Approach to Claim Substantiation

The Federal Trade Commission recently approved a final consent order with Carrot Neurotechnology, Inc. and its co-owners, requiring them to stop making allegedly deceptive claims that their “Ultimeyes” video game app can improve users’ vision. The app allegedly featured claims such as “Turn Back The Clock On Your Vision,” and promised improvements in vision for … Continue Reading