Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

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FTC Closes Investigation Involving Proposed Changes to PayPal’s Terms

Earlier this year, PayPal announced planned changes to its User Agreement that would have, among other things, given the company broad rights to contact people by phone or text messages. The provision stated, in part: You consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have … Continue Reading

Throttled: TracFone Enters $40 Million Settlement with FTC over “Unlimited” Plans

Last week, the FTC concluded a $40 million settlement with TracFone – the largest prepaid mobile provider in the U.S. – over allegations that the company throttled customers’ purportedly unlimited data plans. The FTC alleged that TracFone advertised $45 per month unlimited plans, but systematically throttled and/or suspended customers’ connections after they passed a certain … Continue Reading

Google to Refund at Least $19 Million Over Kids’ In-App Purchases

On September 4, 2014, the FTC announced a settlement with Google Inc., which requires the search giant to pay at least $19 million in refunds to consumers that the Commission alleges were billed for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by kids.  The settlement follows a similar settlement in January with Apple (which required Apple to pay … Continue Reading

FTC Holds Privacy Seminar on Health Data, Emphasizes Transparency

Last week, the FTC held its third and final spring privacy seminar on the implications of consumer generated and controlled health data. The seminar featured presentations by Latanya Sweeney, the FTC’s Chief Technologist, and Jared Ho, an attorney in the FTC’s Mobile Technology Unit, and a panel discussion with representatives from the Department of Health … Continue Reading

Buffalo Bills to Pay $3 Million to Settle Text Message Suit

When companies advertise text message programs, the Mobile Marketing Association requires them to disclose, among other things, the number of messages subscribers may receive. Although that may seem like a straightforward requirement, it has caused a lot of trouble for some companies. For example, we previously posted about a lawsuit in which a plaintiff argued … Continue Reading

Mobile Enforcement Continues to be APPealing to the FTC

On March 28, 2014, the FTC announced two new mobile app settlements – with Fandango and Credit Karma – based on allegations that the companies failed to secure the transmission of consumers’ sensitive personal information collected via their mobile apps and misrepresented the security precautions that the companies took for each app. Specifically, the FTC … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Filed Against Google Over Kids’ In-App Purchases

A class action lawsuit was filed last week in California against Google Inc., alleging that many apps in Google’s app marketplace permit children to make virtual purchases within the game without a parents’ knowledge or consent. The complaint alleges that Google offers free and paid apps through its “Google Play” store, and that many are … Continue Reading

FTC Holds Seminar on Mobile Device Tracking

On February 19, 2014, the FTC hosted a public seminar on mobile device tracking, the first event in the FTC’s Spring Privacy Series on emerging consumer privacy issues.  The seminar included a tutorial on how retail tracking technology works, along with a panel featuring representatives from consumer groups, and the retail, marketing, and technology industries, … Continue Reading

Apple to Pay at Least $32.5 Million in Refunds for Unauthorized In-App Purchases

Today, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) announced a settlement with technology giant Apple Inc., which will require the company to pay at least $32.5 million in refunds to consumers that the Commission alleges were billed for unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children playing popular mobile games. The Commission approved the proposed consent order … Continue Reading

FTC Settles With Android Mobile App Developer Over Material Omission About Data Collection

Yesterday, the FTC announced yet another privacy law enforcement action in the mobile arena. An Android mobile application developer has agreed to settle the Commission’s claims alleging that the application, which allows a device to be used as a flashlight, deceived consumers about how their precise geolocation information would be collected and shared with third … Continue Reading

Express Written Consent Requirement for Telemarketing Calls and Texts to Take Effect October 16, 2013

New rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") last year are about to take effect. These rules will make it more difficult for businesses to make telemarketing calls and texts to wireless customers and to certain residential customers by requiring express written consent (1) to make telemarketing calls using an autodialer or prerecorded message … Continue Reading

Delta Cleared for Takeoff: Wins Dismissal of California AG Mobile App Privacy Action

In December 2012, the California Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Delta Airlines, Inc. (“Delta”) alleging that Delta violated California’s Online Privacy Protection Act by failing to post a privacy policy within its Fly Delta mobile app.  It was the first mobile app enforcement action brought by the California Attorney General and closely followed the … Continue Reading

Common Sense Rules in LA Lakers Text Message Suit

Most marketers know they are legally required to get permission before sending text messages to consumers. Despite this, the number of lawsuits involving (allegedly) unsolicited text messages keeps growing, as does the cost of settling these suits. Although the first cases in this area involved practices that were clearly unlawful — such as sending text … Continue Reading

Handy Health Tracking Mobile App…Or Regulated Medical Device?

The use of mobile apps for health purposes has created new questions for users, developers, and regulators regarding the balance between convenience, expanded health care, and public safety. The line between apps that are useful tools for accessing health information and those that are considered medical devices can be unclear but is very important for … Continue Reading

FTC Updates .com Disclosures Guide to Address Mobile Viewing and Space-Constrained Ads

On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced final revisions to the guidance it gives to advertisers on how to keep endorsement, testimonial, and other digital ads in compliance with the FTC Act, ".com Disclosures, How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising." The Revised Guide expands on the initial version released in 2000 by providing … Continue Reading

NAI Releases 2012 Compliance Report for Online Behavioral Advertising

On February 7, 2013, the Network Advertising Initiative (“NAI”) released its 2012 Annual Compliance Report addressing member organizations’ adherence to the NAI Code. The NAI Code is one of the leading industry self-regulatory codes of conduct governing online behavioral advertising (“OBA”) for third party digital advertising companies (such as advertising networks). The 2012 Compliance Report … Continue Reading

FTC Continues to Scrutinize Children’s Mobile Apps and Concludes Privacy Disclosures Are Insufficient

On December 10, the FTC issued the staff report, “Mobile Apps for Kids: Disclosures Still Not Making the Grade.” The report describes the results of a recent survey by FTC staff that examined the privacy disclosures and practices associated with 400 mobile apps targeted to children. The report follows up on a similar FTC staff … Continue Reading

FCC Permits Confirmatory Opt-Out Texts Under TCPA

When consumers sign up to receive text messages and later request to opt-out, companies typically send a final message to confirm they’ve honored the request. Although that confirmation is a good practice and required by the Mobile Marketing Association, several plaintiffs’ attorneys have filed lawsuits arguing that the confirmation messages violate the Telephone Consumer Protection … Continue Reading

Navigating the Legal Pitfalls of Augmented Reality

In the past year, augmented reality (AR) has moved beyond a sci-fi novelty to a credible marketing tool for brands and retailers. While part of a niche industry, AR applications are being championed by tech players like Google and Nokia, and a host of mobile app developers have launched AR apps for the growing number … Continue Reading

Watch Kelley Drye’s “Smartphone Revolution” Webinar On Demand

Mobile marketing, sweepstakes and services, including location-based services, are governed by an alphabet soup of statutes and regulations: TCPA, COPPA, CAN-SPAM, CPNI, etc. To complicate compliance even further, numerous class action lawsuits in state and federal courts have addressed issues and nuances that the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and state regulatory agencies or … Continue Reading

Papa John’s Sued for $250 Million in Text Message Class Action

Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Papa John’s, arguing that a text message campaign conducted by the company’s franchises violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. According to the complaint, the franchisees sent text messages to customers without their consent, in violation of the TCPA. Under the law, a plaintiff can recover between $500 to … Continue Reading

Mobile App Developers Targeted By The California Attorney General’s Office

Yesterday, the California Attorney General announced that it has started sending notices of non-compliance to numerous mobile app developers, notifying them that their mobile apps were not compliant with California’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 22575-22579. The law requires operators of online sites and services that collect personal information about … Continue Reading

FTC Publishes Guide for Mobile App Developers

Yesterday, the FTC published a guide designed to help mobile app developers comply with advertising and privacy laws when marketing mobile apps. The guide doesn’t include new requirements — instead, it synthesizes many of the things the FTC has said about mobile apps in previous settlements, workshops, and policy documents. The guide focuses on two … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Suit Over Text Message Opt-Out Confirmations

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of lawsuits involving text message campaigns. Although the first lawsuits typically involved unsolicited messages, now plaintiffs’ lawyers are also targeting legitimate campaigns. For example, as we posted last year, a consumer filed a lawsuit when a company sent him a message confirming … Continue Reading