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

On February 26, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in an en banc decision that the “common carrier” exception in the Federal Trade Commission Act is “activity-based,” and therefore applies only to the extent a common carrier is engaging in common carrier services. The decision has implications for FTC authority over Internet service providers, indicating that the FTC has authority to bring consumer protection actions against such providers to the extent they are engaging in non-common carrier activities. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has previously ruled that Internet access service is not a common carrier service subject to that agency’s jurisdiction. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Decision Bolsters FTC Authority over Internet Service Providers

On February 22, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published a blog post that provides tips on how consumers can use Virtual Private Network (“VPN”) apps to protect their information while in transit over public networks. The FTC notes that some consumers are finding VPN apps helpful in protecting their mobile device traffic over Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, airports and other locations. Through a VPN app, a user can browse websites and use apps on their mobile devices, still shielding the traffic from prying eyes as it transmits via public networks.

Continue Reading FTC Issues Tips on VPN Apps

On September 29, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission published the eleventh blog post in its “Stick with Security” series. As 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 Stick with Security: Secure paper, physical media, and devices, highlights the importance of adopting a 360 degree approach to protecting confidential data. This strategy includes securing not only networks and information systems, but also paper, physical media and devices.

Continue Reading FTC Posts Eleventh Blog in Its “Stick with Security” Series

On November 23, 2016, Bloomberg BNA reported that the Hague Administrative Court in the Netherlands upheld a decision by the Dutch Data Protection Authority that WhatsApp was in breach of the Dutch Data Protection Act (the “Act”) on account of its alleged failure to identify a representative within the country responsible for compliance with the Act, despite the processing of personal data of Dutch WhatsApp users on Dutch smartphones. WhatsApp reportedly faces a fine of €10,000 per day up to a maximum of €1 million.

On October 3, 2016, the Texas Attorney General announced a $30,000 settlement with mobile app developer Juxta Labs, Inc. (“Juxta”) stemming from allegations that the company violated Texas consumer protection law by engaging in false, deceptive or misleading acts or practices regarding the collection of personal information from children. Continue Reading Texas AG Settles Suit with Messaging App Over Children’s Data Practices

On June 28, 2016, the State Internet Information Office of the People’s Republic of China published the Administrative Provisions on Information Services for Mobile Internet Applications (the “App Administrative Provisions”). This is the first regulation that expressly regulates mobile apps in the People’s Republic of China. Before the App Administrative Provisions were published, the P.R.C. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had published a draft of the Interim Provisions on the Preinstallation and Management of the Distribution of Mobile Intelligent Terminal Applications (“Interim Provisions”). The comment period for the Interim Provisions draft expired six months ago and i’s still uncertain when it will become effective. According to unofficial statistics, domestic app stores have more than 4 million apps in inventory presently, and the number is growing. Those apps will now become highly regulated products under the App Administrative Provisions. Continue Reading China Publishes First Regulation Expressly Regulating Mobile Apps

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