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A Blog About FTC regulations and happenings

For more than a decade, the Federal Trade Commission has been releasing its list of the top ten categories of consumer complaints received by the agency in the previous year. This list always serves as a good indication of the areas toward which the FTC may choose to direct its resources and increase its scrutiny. For the 12th year in a row, identity theft was the number one complaint received by the FTC. Out of more than 1.8 million complaints the FTC received last year, 15% - or 279,156 – were about identity theft. Of those identity theft complaints, close to 25 percent were related to tax or wage-related fraud. The number of complaints related to identity theft actually declined in 2011 from the previous year, but this type of fraud still topped the list. Most identity theft complaints came from consumers reporting that their personal information was stolen and used in government documents — often to fraudulently collect government benefits. Complaints about government document-related identity theft have increased 11% since... Read more

When hackers breached the computer systems of online retailer Zappos.com in January, they gained access to the personal information of up to 24 million customers. The information included customer names, billing and shipping addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers. In a predictable response, customers immediately filed federal class action lawsuits against Zappos, and the attorneys… Read More

A federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed earlier this month to fast-track a lawsuit by a privacy group against the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that the FTC has failed to enforce the terms of a settlement agreement it reached with Google last year after the FTC accused Google… Read More

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February 22, 2012

Developers of New Apps Need to Consider Privacy Issues

By: Nicole Kardell

There’s been much talk of Google’s upcoming streamlined privacy policy. Now come new demands for cleaner, user-friendly data collection and usage disclosures in the mobile app world. Two recent events highlight changes that online advertisers and app developers need to prepare for: (1) a letter from Congressmen Henry Waxman and G.K. Butterfield to Apple regarding… Read More

There has been much noise over Google’s new privacy policy, which is slated to take effect on March 1. It has been a cacophony of cheers and protestations. Some think the new policy brings clarity and transparency, while others complain it leaves consumers without control over their information. Above the hubbub, one thing is clear:… Read More

The FTC is building up its army of watchdogs to police online marketing content and practices.  Who those watchdogs are – and their relationship to the industry – might surprise you. Earlier this month, the agency entered into a settlement agreement with Central Coast Nutraceuticals, an Internet marketer of weight-loss and health products.  The agreement… Read More

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January 8, 2012

HCG Marketers Face Hot Pursuit by FDA, FTC

By: Nicole Kardell

Putting a snag in New Year’s resolutions for pound-shedding, the FDA and the FTC recently sent out warning letters to several companies that sell HCG-based diet products online. (These companies include Nutri-Fusion Systems LLC, Natural Medical Supply, HCG Platinum, LLC, theoriginalhcgdrops.com, HCG Diet Direct, LLC, and Hcg-miracleweightloss.com.) The warning letters, which came at the outset… Read More

Speaking at a Dec. 15 Capitol Hill forum on children’s and teens’ online privacy, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that the agency is recommending that the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) expand the definition of personally identifiable information. Leibowitz explained that he supports expanding the definition of “personally identifiable information” to include geolocation… Read More

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