December 2013

When a data oops becomes an uh-oh

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  Glitch Happens.  In the case of Accretive Health, Inc., it was a laptop taken from the passenger compartment of an employee’s car.  What transformed this oops into a full-fledged uh-oh was that the laptop contained files with 20 million pieces of data about 23,000 patients, including sensitive health information.  And according to the FTC’s lawsuit, the emplo

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COPPA crowdsourcing. Yeah, really.

We got an interesting suggestion recently.  “With how fast technology changes, how about building in a process so companies can see if newer methods meet the requirements of existing rules?”  A related recommendation:  Crowdsourcing.  “The FTC could publicize an idea and get feedback from people.”  We’re fans of innovation, too, which is why the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule includes a procedure for companies to ask if methods of getting parental consent not listed in COPPA nonetheless meet the Rule’s standards.&

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Risky business

No one is sliding across the living room floor in shades lip synching to Bob Seger, but violating the FTC’s Risk-Based Pricing Rule is risky business nonetheless. That’s the message of the FTC’s $1.9 million settlement with telecom company Time Warner Cable, Inc., the first case brought under the Risk-Based Pricing Rule.

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Giving the Funeral Rule its FROPs

Get two business owners in a room and you’ll get three opinions about how and when to disclose information to prospective buyers.  But if you have clients in the funeral industry, the FTC’s Funeral Rule takes some of the guesswork out of that decision.

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Shedding light on what your app is up to: 3 lessons for developers

Goldenshores Technologies’ “Brightest Flashlight Free” is an incredibly popular Android app downloaded by tens of millions of consumers.  But did those people know that when they used the app, it would transmit their precise location and unique device identifier to third parties, including ad networks?  According to a lawsuit filed by the FTC, Goldenshores didn’t give people the straight story about how their information would be used and then compounded the problem by making them think they could e

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And now for something completely different

Take out your mobile device where you input all that personal information and make note of three upcoming FTC events where the topic of conversation will be, well, the collection and use of all that personal information.  But this time we're switching things up a bit.  The FTC's Spring Privacy Series will consist of three two-hour seminars focused on emerging issues that consumers, industry groups, consumer advocates, and academics are starting to talk about.

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Are you watching?

The topic is Blurred Lines: Advertising or Content? An FTC Workshop on Native Advertising — and it's on now.  There's a packed house at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington today to examine the blending of ads with news, entertainment, and other content in digital media.  If you weren't able to make it, you can still join in.  Watch the webcast from your desk. 

 

Looking before they leap

Most retailers and buyers approach a purchase with the best of intentions.  But let's face it: Glitch happens.  If a company sells a product with a warranty, consumers need up-front access to information about what the seller will do if things go south later.  That’s the thinking behind the FTC’s Rule about the Pre-Sale Availability of Written Warranty Terms.

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