On October 17, 2018, the French data protection authority (the “CNIL”) published a press release detailing the rules applicable to devices that compile aggregated and anonymous statistics from personal data—for example, mobile phone identifiers (i.e., media access control or “MAC” address) —for purposes such as measuring advertising audience in a given space and analyzing flow in shopping malls and other public areas. Read the press release (in French). Continue Reading CNIL Details Rules on Audience and Traffic Measuring in Publicly Accessible Areas
Vizio, Inc. (“Vizio”), a California-based company best known for its internet-connected televisions, agreed to a $17 million settlement that, if approved, will resolve multiple proposed consumer class actions consolidated in California federal court. The suits’ claims, which are limited to the period between February 1, 2014 and February 6, 2017, involve data-tracking software Vizio installed on its smart TVs. The software allegedly identified content displayed on Vizio TVs and enabled Vizio to determine the date, time, channel of programs and whether a viewer watched live or recorded content. The viewing patterns were connected to viewer’s IP addresses, though never, Vizio emphasized in its press release announcing the proposed settlement, to an individual’s name, address, or similar identifying information. According to Vizio, viewing data allows advertisers and programmers to develop content better aligned with consumers’ preferences and interests. Continue Reading Vizio Agrees to $17M Settlement to Resolve Smart TV Class Action Suit
On July 12, 2018, two U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to investigate the privacy policies and practices of smart TV manufacturers. In their letter, Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) note that smart TVs can “compile detailed profiles about users’ preferences and characteristics” which can then allow companies to personalize ads to be sent to “customers’ computers, phones or any other device that shares the smart TV’s internet connection.” Continue Reading Senators Ask FTC to Investigate Smart TV Manufacturers
On June 22, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Singaporean-based mobile advertising network, InMobi, resolving charges that the company deceptively tracked hundreds of millions of consumers’ locations, including children, without their knowledge or consent. Among other requirements, the settlement orders the company to pay $950,000 in civil penalties. Continue Reading Ad Network to Pay Nearly 1 Million in Civil Penalties to Settle FTC Charges That It Geo-Tracked Consumers Without Permission
The Federal Trade Commission announced that it will host a workshop on September 15, 2016, “Putting Disclosures to the Test,” on the efficacy and costs of consumer disclosures in advertising and privacy policies. Planned discussion topics include examining disclosures meant to avoid deception in advertising, disclosures designed to inform consumers of data tracking, and industry-specific disclosures for jewelry, environmental and fuel-saving claims. The workshop is open to the public and will take place at the FTC’s Constitution Center offices in Washington, D.C. The FTC currently is soliciting presentation proposals for the workshop; submissions may be sent to email@example.com.
On December 30, 2015, the Pew Research Center released a report on the results of a recent survey that asked 461 Americans about their feelings toward sharing personal information with companies. The survey found that a “significant minority” of American adults have felt “confused over information provided in company privacy policies, discouraged by the amount of effort needed to understand the implications of sharing their data, and impatient because they wanted to learn more about the information-sharing process but felt they needed to make a decision right away.” Continue Reading Pew Research Center Issues Report on Attitudes Toward Sharing Personal Information with Private Sector
On June 30, 2015, the French Data Protection Authority (the “CNIL”) summarized the results of the cookie inspections it conducted at the end of 2014.
On May 25, 2015, the French Data Protection Authority (“CNIL”) released its long-awaited annual inspection program for 2015. Under French data protection law, the CNIL may conduct four types of inspections: (1) on-site inspections (i.e., the CNIL may visit a company’s facilities and access anything that stores personal data); (2) document reviews (i.e., the CNIL may require an entity to send documents or files upon written request); (3) hearings (i.e., the CNIL may summon representatives of organizations to appear for questioning and provide other necessary information); and (4) since March 2014, online inspections.
On May 7, 2015, the Digital Advertising Alliance (“DAA”) announced that, as of September 1, 2015, the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Direct Marketing Association will begin to enforce the DAA Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising and the Multi-Site Data Principles (collectively, the “Self-Regulatory Principles”) in the mobile environment.