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Mobile payments have become so commonplace that consumers rarely stop to think about whether their online payment is secure. Mobile app developers can fall into a similar trap of assuming that the necessary security measures are enabled without performing the necessary audits to assure security on a regular basis. A recent settlement between the FTC and two companies offering unsecured mobile application products gives cause to think again. The FTC alleges that the movie ticketing service Fandango and credit monitoring company Credit Karma failed to adequately protect consumers’ sensitive personal information in their mobile apps because they failed to use Secure Sockets Layer (“SSL”) protocol to establish authentic, encrypted connections with consumers. Generally, an online service will present an SSL certificate to the app on the consumer’s device to vouch for its identity. The app then verifies the certificate to ensure that it is connecting to the genuine online service. When companies fail to use this protocol—especially if consumers use the app over a public wi-fi system—third party attackers can... Read more

For many, the announcement two weeks ago that the Federal Trade Commission has commenced a formal investigation into Herbalife was not terribly interesting.  After all, nutritional supplement company Herbalife has been the focus of intermittent media attention since December 2012 when Wall Street hedge fund manager Bill Ackman claimed that it was  an illegal pyramid… Read More

After the FTC secured a $163MM judgment against Kristy Ross in the US District Court of Maryland, the 4th Circuit affirmed, and so ends the FTC’s six-year “scareware” enforcement action. From beginning to end, this odyssey has been quite colorful, to say the least. The nine-figure judgment against Ross is no exception. Originally, there were… Read More

Advertisements for electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes,” are increasingly drawing scrutiny from consumer advocates and public health groups who are calling for the federal government to regulate these advertisements in the same manner that traditional cigarette advertisements are regulated. The e-cigarette industry is growing at a rapid pace, particularly among younger people. Last year, the industry… Read More

By Michelle Cohen, CIPP-US Yesterday, in his weekly video address, Attorney General Eric Holder urged Congress to create a national data breach notification standard requiring companies to quickly notify consumers of a breach of their personal or financial information.  In the wake of the high profile holiday season data breaches at retailers Target and Neiman Marcus,… Read More

A federal court in California recently ruled that a plaintiff who was required to enter her phone number to purchase a plane ticket online had consented to receive a text message, and dismissed her claim under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). A plaintiff’s prior express consent is a major issue in TCPA litigation and… Read More

A California court ruled earlier this month that Overstock must pay a roughly $6.8 million penalty to settle claims that the retailer “routinely and systematically” made false and misleading claims about the prices of its products on its website. If upheld, this ruling could have significant effects on how companies use price comparisons in advertisements… Read More

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January 28, 2014

Data Privacy Day

By: Michelle Cohen

By Michelle Cohen, CIPP-US On January 28th, in an effort raise awareness of privacy and data privacy, the United States, Canada and 27 countries of the European Union celebrate International Data Privacy Day.  Many organizations use Data Privacy Day as an opportunity to educate their employees and stakeholders about privacy-related topics.  With the recent, high-profile data… Read More

Once again using its administrative litigation process, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlements with twelve large businesses, including the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos football teams, the Baker Tilly accounting firm, BitTorrent, Inc., a peer-to-peer file sharing protocol, Level 3 Communications (one of the largest Internet service providers in the world), and Reynolds Consumer Products,… Read More

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