The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has settled with 12 U.S. companies over charges the companies falsely claimed they were abiding by Safe Harbor rules. The companies involved spanned various industries, including mobile apps, DNA testing and professional sports. The complaints filed by the FTC state the companies allowed their EU-U.S. Safe Harbor certifications to lapse, despite claims in their privacy policies or Safe Harbor certification marks indicating otherwise. Three of the companies were also charged with falsely claiming to abide by the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor framework. The settlements, which follow criticism from the European Commission that the Safe Harbor framework has not been effectively enforced, are now open for public comment. FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said Safe Harbor enforcement is a priority and the cases “send a signal to companies” that they can’t falsely claim certification. In a blog post on the FTC’s site, Lesley Fair, senior attorney with the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, says this is fair warning that, “If you feature the Safe Harbor mark on your site or refer to your participation, remember that you must ‘re-up’ every year.”
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