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Recently, the Maryland Attorney General’s Office announced that it reached a settlement with Snapchat, Inc. over alleged deceptive trade practices in violation of Maryland law and violations of federal laws that are intended to protect children’s online privacy.  This is another reminder that state attorneys general’s offices will continue to be vigilant in addressing consumer privacy issues under both state and federal laws, when the federal laws permit state attorney general action. Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app that allows users to take photos and videos, add text and drawings, and send them to selected contacts.  The sent images are commonly referred to as “snaps” and users can set a time limit of up to ten seconds for how long the image will be visible to the contact.  According to Snapchat, its app’s users were sending 700 million photos and videos per day in May 2014. Maryland’s Attorney General asserted that Snapchat misled consumers when it represented that snaps are temporary and disappear after they are opened by... Read more
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June 20, 2014

Weight Loss Claims and Dr. Oz Gain Congressional Interest

By: Michelle Cohen and Ifrah Law

We’ve all heard the statistics showing obesity rates rising in the U.S. year after year. Most of us are well aware of the billion dollar diet and weight-loss supplement industry to which millions turn with the hope of finding that one “miracle pill” to help them lose that stubborn belly fat or get rid of… Read More

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June 10, 2014

Higher Ed False Claims Act Suits – Pass or Fail?

By: Nicole Kardell

Career Education Corporation, like a host of other for-profit education companies, has found itself spinning on the courthouse revolving door. The latest legal challenge for CEC: a False Claims Act suit filed in federal court in New Jersey on May 16. The lawsuit alleges that CEC defrauded the federal government by (1) falsifying job placement… Read More

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) announced a consent decree with Sprint Corporation for federal do not call violations. Specifically, under the terms of the agreement, Sprint will make a $7.5 million “voluntary contribution” to the United States Treasury.  This payment represents the largest do not call settlement reached by the FCC.  Sprint also agreed… Read More

In a recent case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the district court held that the plaintiff’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) claim should be dismissed. The court ruled that the plaintiff gave prior express consent when she agreed to the terms of her health insurance plan, which stated that… Read More

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) continues to make significant progress with its implementation of the New generic Top–Level Domain (gTLD) Program. Under the new program, ICANN has added more than 250 new gTLDs to the Domain Name System (DNS) and could add hundreds more in the next several years. ICANN is… Read More

In an effort that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials say was motivated by the (Big Brother?) desire “to correct a misperception by consumers that tobacco products not regulated by FDA are safe alternatives to currently regulated tobacco products,” the FDA released proposed regulations this morning that would regulate the rapidly growing e-cigarette market. (The… Read More

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April 17, 2014

Don’t be a Jerk

By: Ifrah Law

Last week the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) charged the operators of Jerk.com with harvesting personal information from Facebook to create profiles for more than an estimated 73 million people, where they could not be labeled a “Jerk” or “not a Jerk.” In the complaint, the FTC charged the defendants, Jerk, LLC and the operator of… Read More

By Michelle Cohen, CIPP-US After recovering from high-profile data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus, signing up for free credit monitoring and analyzing our credit reports, a new Internet villain recently emerged:  the “Heartbleed Bug.”  The Heartbleed Bug is a security flaw present on Open SSL, popular software run on most webservers.  This open source software… Read More

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April 10, 2014

TCPA Litigation Explosion Leads to Rule Clarifications

By: Michelle Cohen and Ifrah Law

Congress enacted the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) to protect consumers from unwanted telemarketing, fax marketing, and prerecorded/auto-dialed phone calls. Recently, there has been an explosion in TCPA litigation, including class action litigation. In response, several parties have asked the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) to clarify certain of the agency’s TCPA rules to provide relief… Read More

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