On December 12, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop on informational injury in Washington, D.C., where industry experts, policymakers, researchers and legal professionals considered how to best characterize and measure potential injuries and resulting harms to consumers when information about them is misused or inappropriately protected. Continue Reading FTC Hosts Workshop on Informational Injury

On November 8, 2017, Sears Holding Management Corporation (“Sears”) requested that the FTC reopen and modify a 2009 Commission Order (the “Order”) settling charges that Sears inadequately disclosed the scope of consumer data collected through the company’s software application. The initial FTC complaint alleged that Sears represented to consumers that its downloadable software application would track users’ “online browsing,” but in fact tracked nearly all of the users’ Internet behavior. Sears petitioned the FTC to modify the Order’s definition of “tracking system,” which the company contends is overbroad and impracticable. The FTC is seeking public comment on Sears’ petition, which it will receive until December 8, 2017.

On November 8, 2017, the FTC announced a settlement with Georgia-based online tax preparation service, TaxSlayer, LLC (“TaxSlayer”), regarding allegations that the company violated federal rules on financial privacy and data security. According to the FTC’s complaint, malicious hackers were able to gain full access to nearly 9,000 TaxSlayer user accounts between October 2015 and December 2015. The hackers allegedly used the personal information contained in the users’ accounts, including contact information, Social Security numbers and financial information, to engage in tax identify theft and obtain tax refunds through filing fraudulent tax returns. The FTC charged TaxSlayer with violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s Safeguards Rule and Privacy Rule.  Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement with Tax Prep Service Over Financial Privacy and Security Violations

Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) issued its 2017 Global Privacy Enforcement Network Sweep results (the “Report”), which focused on certain privacy practices of online educational tools and services targeted at classrooms. The OPC examined the privacy practices of two dozen educational websites and apps used by K-12 students. The “sweep” sought to replicate the consumer experience by interacting with the websites and apps, and recording the privacy practices and controls in place. The overarching theme of the Report is “user controls over personal information,” which the OPC further refined into four subthemes: (1) transparency, (2) consent, (3) age-appropriate collection and disclosure, and (4) deletion of personal information. Continue Reading Canadian Privacy Commissioner Issues Report on Children’s Educational Apps

On October 19, 2017, the White House announced that President Donald J. Trump plans to nominate two individuals to serve as commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission. President Trump selected Joseph Simons to lead the FTC as its chairman for a seven-year term, beginning September 26, 2017. Simons’ background primarily has focused on antitrust matters. From June 2001 to August 2003, he led the FTC’s antitrust initiative as Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.

Continue Reading Trump to Nominate New FTC Chair and Commissioner

On October 19, 2017, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (“LIBE Committee”) narrowly voted to approve an amended version of the e-Privacy Regulation (“Regulation”). The committee vote is an important step in the process within the European Parliament. This vote will be followed by a vote of the European Parliament in its plenary session on October 23-26. If the plenary also votes in favor, the European Parliament will have a mandate to begin negotiations with the Member States in the Council. If these negotiations (commonly known as “trilogue”) succeed, the Regulation will be adopted.

Continue Reading European Parliament’s LIBE Committee Approves Amended ePrivacy Regulation

On September 5, 2017, the FTC announced that Lenovo, Inc. (“Lenovo”) agreed to settle charges that its preloaded software on some laptop computers compromised online security protections in order to deliver advertisements to consumers. The settlement agreement (the “Settlement”) is between Lenovo, the FTC and 32 State Attorneys General.  Continue Reading FTC Announces Settlement with Lenovo Regarding Preinstalled Laptop Software

On July 28, 2017, the FTC published the second blog post in its “Stick with Security” series. As we previously reported, the FTC will publish an entry every Friday for the next few months focusing on each of the 10 principles outlined in its Start with Security Guide for Businesses. This week’s post, entitled “Start with security – and stick with it,” looks at key security principles that apply to all businesses regardless of their size or the types of data they handle. Continue Reading FTC Posts Second Blog in Its “Stick with Security” Series

On July 21, 2017, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that places new restrictions on the collection and use of personal information by retail establishments for certain purposes. The statute, which is called the Personal Information and Privacy Protection Act, permits retail establishments in New Jersey to scan a person’s driver’s license or other state-issued identification card only for the following eight purposes: Continue Reading New Jersey Shopper Privacy Bill Signed into Law