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

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 February 6, 2017, the FTC announced that it has agreed to settle charges that VIZIO, Inc. (“VIZIO”), installed software on about 11 million consumer televisions to collect viewing data without consumers’ knowledge or consent. The stipulated federal court order requires VIZIO to pay $2.2 million to the FTC and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.  Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement Regarding Collecting Consumer TV Viewing Data

On November 30, 2016, the FTC released a staff summary (the “Summary”) of a public workshop called Putting Disclosures to the Test. The workshop, which was held on September 15, 2016, examined ways of testing and evaluating company disclosures regarding advertising claims and privacy practices. The Summary reviews the workshop and its key takeaways. Continue Reading FTC Releases Summary of Workshop on Privacy Disclosures

Late last year the Federal Trade Commission issued enforcement guidance on “native advertising” — ads that purposely are formatted to appear as noncommercial and are integrated into surrounding editorial content. The agency’s guidance took two parts: an Enforcement Policy Statement on deceptively formatted ads, and a Guide for Business on native advertising. These long-awaited guidance documents follow on the FTC’s December 2013 “Blurred Lines” workshop on native advertising. Importantly, the FTC notes that its policy statement does not apply just to advertisers but also to other parties that help create the content: ad agencies, ad networks and potentially, publishers.

Continue Reading FTC Issues Guidance on Native Advertising: Businesses Must Consider the Likelihood of Consumer Confusion

On December 17, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission announced that LifeLock, Inc. (“LifeLock”) has agreed to pay $100 million to settle contempt charges for deceptive advertising. According to the FTC, “[t]his is the largest monetary award obtained by the Commission in an order enforcement action.” Under the terms of the settlement, $68 million of the settlement amount will be paid to class action consumers who were injured by the identity theft protection company’s violation of a 2010 settlement with the FTC that required LifeLock to protect consumer information. The rest of the money will be used for settlements with state attorneys general, and any remaining money will go to the FTC. The case is Federal Trade Commission v. LifeLock Inc., et al. (2:10-cv-00530), in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Continue Reading FTC Announces Largest Settlement Ever with LifeLock

Hunton & Williams welcomes Phyllis H. Marcus as counsel to the firm’s privacy and competition teams. Phyllis joins the firm from the Federal Trade Commission, where she held a number of leadership positions, most recently as Chief of Staff of the Division of Advertising Practices. Phyllis led the FTC’s children’s online privacy program, including bringing a number of enforcement actions and overhauling the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule. She offers the privacy team a keen understanding of the complexities of the revised regulations, as well as broader issues relating to student privacy, mobile applications and the Internet of Things.

Continue Reading FTC Advertising Practices Division Chief of Staff Phyllis Marcus Joins Hunton

On July 10, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released a Declaratory Ruling and Order that provides guidance with respect to several sections of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”). The Declaratory Ruling and Order responds to 21 separate requests from industry, government and others seeking clarifications regarding the TCPA and related FCC rules.

Continue Reading FCC Issues Clarifications Regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act