FTC publishes annual privacy, data security update

(Feb 25, 2020) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced the release of its "Privacy & Data Security Update for 2019," outlining the agency's enforcement work over the last year. The FTC deemed 2019 a "record year" for enforcement, highlighted by its $5 billion fine against Facebook, potential $700 million settlement with Equifax, and $170 million fine against Google and YouTube. Additionally, 2019 saw the FTC bring 13 cases against companies fraudulently claiming EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework par... Read More

DOJ charges Chinese hackers for 2017 Equifax breach

(Feb 10, 2020) The U.S. Department of Justice has announced four members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army have been charged in relation to the 2017 Equifax data breach. The charges include computer fraud, economic espionage and wire fraud related to their unauthorized access to the Equifax database containing the personal information of at least 145 million Americans. "This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people," U.S. Attorney General William Barr sa... Read More

FTC claims bring court-ordered suspension of deceptive websites

(Feb 6, 2020) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced the District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted the commission's request to halt deceptive online schemes promising quick and easy government services to individuals. The FTC alleged the schemes, which ranged from license renewals to public benefits eligibility, improperly requested and collected consumer data in exchange for services the websites did not provide. The defendants took credit card information and personal data as part of ... Read More

FTC commissioner: Antitrust enforcement, privacy protections don't correlate

(Feb 3, 2020) The Wall Street Journal reports U.S Federal Trade Commissioner Noah Phillips has cautioned against the notion that antitrust enforcement for big tech companies will lead to increased consumer privacy measures. Phillips said connecting antitrust and privacy "will fail," adding that "competition and privacy are often at odds." Phillips pointed to Google phasing out third-party cookies as an example of the conflict between the two spaces. "Google’s decision may very well be the right one for privac... Read More

FTC reaches settlement on false Privacy Shield claims

(Jan 29, 2020) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced another settlement on false claims of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield participation. New York–based T&M Protection Resources is alleged to have continued to promote its Privacy Shield certification after it had expired. In addition to being banned from further misrepresenting its participation in Privacy Shield or other frameworks, T&M will be required to return or delete all personal information gathered under its false participation.Full Story... Read More

US lawmakers call for FTC investigation of fintech firm's data sale

(Jan 21, 2020) U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, along with Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., penned a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate alleged improper data sale by financial technology firm Envestnet and its subsidiary, Yodlee, The Wall Street Journal reports. The lawmakers wrote, "Consumers generally have no idea of the risks to their privacy that Envestnet is imposing on them." In a statement, Yodlee refuted the allegations, saying it complies with regulatory standa... Read More

Sen. Wyden calls for FTC to investigate ad blockers

(Jan 15, 2020) U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate ad blockers, MediaPost reports. In a letter to the FTC, Wyden wrote ad blockers engage in deceptive and unfair practices by whitelist ads from paying companies. He added the largest advertising companies "have quietly paid millions of dollars to some of the largest ad blocking software companies in order to be able to continue to track and target consumers with ads." Wyden called for ad-blocking companies to discl... Read More

FTC finalizes Privacy Shield falsification case

(Jan 10, 2020) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced it finalized its settlement with California-based Medable over false claims of EU-U.S. Privacy Shield participation. The FTC voted 5-0 on the settlement's approval. As part of its deal with the FTC, the technology company cannot misrepresent its participation in the Privacy Shield framework or other privacy or data protection programs put forth by the government, self-regulatory groups or standard-setting organizations.Full Story... Read More

FTC chair supports federal privacy law, maintaining enforcement role

(Jan 8, 2020) Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons opened up about his support for federal privacy legislation, Multichannel News reports. Simons' call for a comprehensive law came with stipulations, including the desire to have the FTC retain its enforcement powers in lieu of creating a new privacy regulator. Additionally, he indicated any legislation should create and maintain competition across industries. Meanwhile, Federal Communicat... Read More

FTC, mortgage broker reach $120K settlement over data exposure

(Jan 8, 2020) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced it has agreed to a $120,000 settlement with California-based Mortgage Solutions FCS, over personal-data-related violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The mortgage broker allegedly responded to negative customer reviews by revealing personal information belonging to those customers. The exposed information included credit histories, debt-to-income ratios, taxes, sources of income, family relationships and more.  FTC Bureau of Consumer Protect... Read More