May 2, 2013

FTC: Data Brokers That Compile Tenant Data May Be Covered by FCRA

On April 3, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release that marks yet another step in its continuing trend of actions involving data brokers and data providers. As we have noted in earlier blog posts, the agency is making a concerted effort on a number of fronts to enforce the laws that protect… Read More

April 26, 2013

FTC, Rent-to-Own Stores Settle Charges of Spying on Consumers Via Rented Computers

The Federal Trade Commission recently approved nine final orders that settle charges against seven rent-to-own stores and a software design firm and its principals. The charges stemmed from shocking allegations that the companies spied on consumers using computers that the consumers had rented from them. Among other things, the Commission’s complaint alleged that the computers… Read More

April 8, 2013

A Cautionary Tale: EU Probing Google for Possible Privacy Violations

The increasing difficulties faced by internet providers and data gatherers in the international realm have yet again come to the fore. Privacy regulators in France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Italy have banded together to investigate whether to fine Google for what they perceive to be violations of European Union privacy laws…. Read More

March 24, 2013

FTC Points to Key Issues in New World of Mobile Payments

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission released a staff report outlining key issues facing consumers and companies as they adopt mobile payment services, entitled “Paper, Plastic . . . or Mobile? An FTC Workshop on Mobile Payments.” The report is based on a workshop held by the FTC in 2012 to examine the mobile… Read More

March 18, 2013

Google Settles Another Privacy Allegation — This One Concerning Its ‘Street View’

Google recently agreed to a settlement after a three-year investigation conducted by 38 state attorneys general stemming for allegations that it had violated individuals’ privacy rights when it collected information from unsecured wireless networks while Google was engaged in its Street View mapping project. Full text of the settlement is available here. Google used special… Read More

March 12, 2013

Web Analytics Firm Settles FTC Charges Over Intrusive Data Tracking

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that it has approved a final order settling charges against Compete, Inc., a Boston-based web analytics company. Compete, Inc. sells reports on consumer browsing behavior to clients looking to drive more traffic to their websites and increase sales. Compete, Inc. obtained the information by getting consumers to install the… Read More

February 8, 2013

Blood Bank Settles FTC Complaint About Customer Data Privacy

Any company that collects personal information about individuals, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers, must be very careful about the way in which it stores and secures that information. Even a blood bank that stores umbilical cord blood needs to keep these privacy rules in clear view. That is one of the… Read More

February 5, 2013

Maryland AG Launches New Internet Privacy Unit, Plans Aggressive Enforcement

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D) has announced that his office is launching a new Internet Privacy Unit designed to address issues related to online privacy and to ensure that companies are in compliance with state and federal consumer protection laws. The unit will also handle issues related to cyberbullying and cybersecurity. Gansler, who also… Read More

January 28, 2013

A Cautionary Tale for Data Privacy Day

Angered by the recent tragic suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, a group of hackers claiming to be from the group Anonymous, made threats over the weekend to release sensitive information about the United States Department of Justice. The group claimed to have a file on multiple servers that is ready to be released immediately…. Read More

January 24, 2013

Criminal Background Checks? The FTC Knows There’s an App for That

As we cautioned in a September post, the FTC is stepping up enforcement actions against mobile app developers for failure to comply with consumer protection principles. This month, the FTC took another major step in that direction with a groundbreaking settlement applying the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to app developers Filquarian Publishing, LLC, Choice… Read More