Federal Trade Commission

On June 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated a 2016 Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) order compelling LabMD to implement a “comprehensive information security program that is reasonably designed to protect the security, confidentiality, and integrity of personal information collected from or about consumers.” The Eleventh Circuit agreed with LabMD that the FTC order was unenforceable because it did not direct the company to stop any “unfair act or practice” within the meaning of Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (the “FTC Act”). Continue Reading Eleventh Circuit Vacates FTC Data Security Order

On May 24, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission granted final approval to a settlement (the “Final Settlement”) with PayPal, Inc., to resolve charges that PayPal’s peer-to-peer payment service, Venmo, misled consumers regarding certain restrictions on the use of its service, as well as the privacy of transactions. The proposed settlement was announced on February 27, 2018. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Venmo misrepresented its information security practices by stating that it “uses bank-grade security systems and data encryption to protect your financial information.” Instead, the FTC alleged that Venmo violated the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act’s (“GLBA’s”) Safeguards Rule by failing to (1) have a written information security program; (2) assess the risks to the security, confidentiality and integrity of customer information; and (3) implement basic safeguards such as providing security notifications to users that their passwords were changed. The complaint also alleged that Venmo (1) misled consumers about their ability to transfer funds to external bank accounts, and (2) misrepresented the extent to which consumers could control the privacy of their transactions, in violation of the GLBA Privacy Rule. Continue Reading FTC Approves Settlement with PayPal Regarding Alleged Venmo Privacy Misrepresentations

On April 11, 2018, Arizona amended its data breach notification law (the “amended law”). The amended law will require persons, companies and government agencies doing business in the state to notify affected individuals within 45 days of determining that a breach has resulted in or is reasonably likely to result in substantial economic loss to affected individuals. The old law only required notification “in the most expedient manner possible and without unreasonable delay.” The amended law also broadens the definition of personal information and requires regulatory notice and notice to the consumer reporting agencies (“CRAs”) under certain circumstances. Continue Reading Arizona Amends Data Breach Notification Law

On April 27, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission issued two warning letters to foreign marketers of geolocation tracking devices for violations of the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”). The first letter was directed to a Chinese company, Gator Group, Ltd., that sold the “Kids GPS Gator Watch” (marketed as a child’s first cellphone); the second was sent to a Swedish company, Tinitell, Inc., marketing a child-based app that works with a mobile phone worn like a watch. Both products collect a child’s precise geolocation data, and the Gator Watch includes geofencing “safe zones.”   Continue Reading FTC Issues Warning Letters for Potential COPPA Violations

On April 30, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission announced that BLU Products, Inc. (“BLU”), a mobile phone manufacturer, agreed to settle charges that the company allowed ADUPS Technology Co. Ltd. (“ADUPS”), a third-party service provider based in China to collect consumers’ personal information without their knowledge or consent, notwithstanding the company’s promises that it would keep the relevant information secure and private. The relevant personal information allegedly included, among other information, text message content and real-time location information.

Continue Reading Mobile Phone Maker BLU Settles FTC Privacy and Data Security Claims

On April 26, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed by unanimous consent all five pending nominees to the Federal Trade Commission. Once installed, the agency will have a full complement of Commissioners for the first time in nearly three years. The FTC will be comprised of three Republicans — Joseph Simons (Chairman), Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine Wilson — and two Democrats — Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Rohit Chopra.

Continue Reading FTC Nominees Confirmed by Senate

The Federal Trade Commission has modified its 2017 settlement with Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) after learning of an additional breach that was not taken into consideration during its earlier negotiations with the company. The modifications are based on the fact that Uber failed to notify the FTC of a November 2016 breach, which took place during the time that the FTC was investigating an earlier, 2014 breach. The 2016 breach occurred when intruders used an access key that an Uber engineer had posted on GitHub to download more than 47 million user names, including related email addresses or phone numbers, as well as more than 600,000 drivers’ names and license numbers. The FTC alleged that after Uber learned of the breach, it paid the intruders a $100,000 ransom through its “bug bounty” program. The bug bounty program is intended to reward responsible disclosure of security vulnerabilities. Continue Reading FTC Revises Its Security Settlement with Uber

On March 26, 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce posted an update on the actions it has taken between January 2017 and March 2018 to support the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks (collectively, the “Privacy Shield”). The update details measures taken in support of commercial and national security issues relating to the Privacy Shield. Continue Reading U.S. Department of Commerce Posts Update of Actions to Support the Privacy Shield Frameworks

On February 28, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report, titled Mobile Security Updates: Understanding the Issues (the “Report”), that analyzes the process by which mobile devices sold in the U.S. receive security updates and provides recommendations for improvement. The Report is based on information the FTC obtained from eight mobile device manufacturers, and from information the Federal Communications Commission collected from six wireless carriers. Continue Reading FTC Recommends Steps to Improve Mobile Device Security Update Practices