Header graphic for print
Socially Aware Blog The Law and Business of Social Media

Tag Archives: Consumer Protection

Jerked Around? Did the FTC’s “Jerk.com” Complaint Just Turn API Terms Into Federal Law?

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) announcement earlier this week that it had filed a complaint against Jerk, LLC and its websites like “jerk.com” (“Jerk”) looks at first glance like a run-of-the-mill FTC Section 5 enforcement action involving allegedly deceptive practices online. But hidden in the facts of Jerk’s alleged misbehavior is a potentially significant expansion… Continue Reading

The Internet of Things Part 2: The Old Problem Squared

Posted in Ethics, FTC, Internet of Things, IP, Privacy

Cisco estimates that 25 billion devices will be connected in the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020. Analyst firm IDC makes an even bolder prediction: 212 billion connected devices by 2020. This massive increase in connectedness will drive a wave of innovation and could generate up to $19 trillion in… Continue Reading

A Smart Wallet

Posted in Financial Institutions, FTC, Privacy

Another great post from our sister blog, MoFo Tech: The potential for mobile payments is huge. So are the potential legal and regulatory hurdles. Banks, retailers, and pundits are paying a lot of attention to mobile payments, which typically involve the use of smartphones and tablets to pay for purchases.  But a lack of mobile infrastructure… Continue Reading

German Court Rules Against Facebook’s “Friend Finder”

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

On January 24, 2014, in a case filed against Facebook by German consumer protection association VZBV, the Berlin Court of Appeal (“Court”) upheld a lower court ruling that Facebook’s “Friend Finder” function is unlawful. The Court agreed with the Berlin Regional Court’s 2012 decision that the Friend Finder function violates both German data protection law… Continue Reading

Data Protection Masterclass Webinar: Spotlight on Social Media Marketing and Policies

Posted in Employment Law, Event, Online Promotions, Privacy

Our global privacy + data security group’s Data Protection Masterclass Webinar series is turning the spotlight on social media marketing and policies in January. Please join Socially Aware contributors Christine Lyon and Karin Retzer, along with Ann Bevitt in our London office for a webinar that will examine the laws and regulations in the United… Continue Reading

Mobile Apps: No Surprises, Please

Posted in FTC, Privacy

From our sister blog, MoFo Tech: Widely applicable rules regarding consumer privacy disclosures in our increasingly mobile world are only now emerging. Government agencies, individual states, and professional associations are all weighing in on how mobile app developers should disclose how they collect, store, use, and protect the wide range of highly personal data being… Continue Reading

Collaborative Consumption – Is It Good to Share?

Posted in Employment Law, FTC, Privacy

Peer-to-peer (“P2P”) business models based on the Internet and technology platforms have become increasingly innovative.  As such models have proliferated, they frequently result in clashes with regulators or established market competitors using existing laws as a defensive tactic.  The legal battles that result illustrate the need for proactive planning and consideration of the likely legal… Continue Reading

Playing Fair? UK’s OFT Investigates Online and App-Based Games

Posted in E-Commerce, Ethics

On April 12, 2013, the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT), the UK regulator for consumer affairs and competition, announced that it was launching an investigation into children’s web- and app-based games. In particular, the OFT is looking into whether such games comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (“Regulations”), and are… Continue Reading

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again: Massachusetts Allows Actions for Violation of Privacy Rights Based on Collection of ZIP Codes

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

Massachusetts appears to have followed California’s lead in opening a litigation floodgate over ZIP code collection at the point of sale. In 2011, the California Supreme Court held in Pineda v. Williams-Sonoma Stores, Inc., 246 P.3d 612 (Cal. 2011), that a retailer illegally collects personal identification information (PII) when it requests and records ZIP codes… Continue Reading

FTC Updates Its “Dot Com Disclosures” With a Focus on Social Media Advertising

Posted in FTC

On March 12, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an important update to its “Dot Com Disclosures” guide to advertisers on making effective online disclosures. In doing so, the FTC has driven home the points that: The consumer protection laws apply to all advertisers, regardless of the medium used—and including social media, even where there… Continue Reading

FTC Announces Important Settlement With Social Networking App and Releases New Mobile App Report

Posted in FTC, Litigation, Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a potentially groundbreaking settlement with the social networking app Path and released an important new staff report on Mobile Privacy Disclosures late last week. The FTC’s Settlement with Path suggests a new standard may be on the near-term horizon: out-of-policy, just-in-time notice and express consent for the collection of… Continue Reading

You Can’t Make a Square Peg Fit in a Round Hole: California Supreme Court Holds Online Purchases of Electronically Downloadable Products Outside Scope of Song-Beverly Act

Posted in Litigation, Privacy

Handing a victory to online retailers, on February 4, 2013, the California Supreme Court held in a split decision that online transactions involving electronically downloadable products fall outside the scope of the Song-Beverly Credit Card Act (Apple v. Superior Court (Krescent), S199384). Despite acknowledging the unique fraud issues present in online transactions, the Court refused… Continue Reading

FTC Issues Substantially Revised COPPA Rule, Effective July 1, 2013: Review of Changes and Compliance Tips

Posted in FTC, Privacy

On December 19, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) announced long-awaited amendments to its rule implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“Rule”). The changes—which take effect on July 1, 2013—are significant. They alter the scope and obligations of the Rule in a number of ways. We discuss the revisions in greater detail below. The… Continue Reading

FTC Snuffs Out Online “History Sniffing”

Posted in FTC, Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has cracked down on a company that was engaged in “history sniffing,” a means of online tracking that digs up information embedded in web browsers to reveal the websites that users have visited. In a proposed settlement with Epic Marketplace, Inc. and Epic Media Group (together, “EMG”) announced on December… Continue Reading

California A.G. Makes Good on Promise to Pursue Apps That Don’t Comply With the State’s Privacy Policy Law

Posted in FTC, Privacy

On October 30, 2012, California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced that her office would begin notifying the developers of as many as 100 mobile apps that their apps do not comply with the state’s Online Privacy Protection Act (OPPA) and that they have 30 days to bring them into compliance. The announcement does not come… Continue Reading

More Change Coming: The FTC Proposes Further Significant Changes to Its COPPA Rule

Posted in FTC, Privacy

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (“COPPA”), which became effective in April 2000, has long served as the primary regulatory tool of the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) to police online privacy issues concerning children under 13.  The COPPA Rule (the “Rule”), promulgated by the FTC pursuant to COPPA, in general requires the… Continue Reading

FTC’s Privacy Report Suggests Tightening of Privacy Regime, Provides Guidance to Business

Posted in FTC, Privacy

On March 26, 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (the “Commission” or “FTC”) released its much-anticipated final privacy report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change.  The report builds upon the Commission’s December 2010 preliminary report, and provides recommendations for businesses and policymakers with respect to online and offline privacy practices.  The report will… Continue Reading

Real News About Fake News Sites

Posted in FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently asked federal courts to shut down ten websites that touted the purported benefits of acai berry weight-loss products.  These were not your average promotional sites:  Each was convincingly designed to have the look and feel of a news reporting site.  For example, the headline of one site read, “Acai… Continue Reading