Facebook, FTC nearing deal with 20-year oversight

(May 14, 2019) CNBC reports the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is close to finalizing a settlement with Facebook that would include 20 years of oversight, in addition to previously reported fines. While an official agreement is not expected before the end of May, Facebook is already preparing for its fine after recently setting aside $3 billion. The reported oversight clause in this potential deal draws a parallel to a similar clause in the 2011 settlement between the FTC and the social network.Full Story... Read More

FTC's final hearing session to take place June 12

(May 13, 2019) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced the final installment of its Hearings Initiative will take place June 12 at the Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska. The hearing will feature several state attorneys general who will discuss big data and privacy, the challenges facing state enforcers, and collaborations on the federal and state level. Final comments for all the hearings conducted by the FTC can be submitted until June 30.Full Story... Read More

Facebook co-founder calls for its break up

(May 10, 2019) In an op-ed for The New York Times’ Privacy Project, Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, who left the social network's ranks a decade ago, writes that the time is now to rein in his former company and create a new standard for privacy and accountability for all big tech companies. Hughes blamed himself and those involved in Facebook's infancy for "not thinking more about how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture" but also wrote that Facebook has gone from "a project developed in our dor... Read More

FTC chairman pleads with House subcommittee: 'No broad rulemaking authority'

(May 9, 2019) At a hearing Wednesday at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, lawmakers once again asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission what it needs to carry out its mandate on consumer protection and how a federal privacy bill could best support that mission. Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., noted the FTC's lean numbers. While the FTC has 40 staffers working on enforcing data protection for 300 million consumers, its global counterparts have staffs 10 times that number, in some cases.... Read More

At (yet another) House hearing on FTC, chairman pleads: 'No broad rulemaking authority'

(May 9, 2019) While lawmakers at the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee hearing at the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday seemed framed to discuss what kinds of resources the U.S. Federal Trade Commission needs to fulfill its mandate on consumer protection, the five commissioners on hand were ready to make more specific asks — namely, not to be given "broad" rulemaking authority for civil penalty authority that would give the agency some credibility and for lawmakers to first consider wh... Read More

Advocacy groups allege kids' smart speaker violates COPPA

(May 9, 2019) A group of 19 privacy and consumer advocacy organizations alleges Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition’s collection of voice recordings and identifying information violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, The Washington Post reports. The complaint states the online portal for the device does not have an effective system to obtain parental consent, adding that Amazon holds onto the voice recordings longer than necessary. Amazon Spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall said the device is compliant with... Read More

FTC commissioners to testify in front of House committee

(May 8, 2019) All five commissioners of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission are testifying before a U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce panel Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports. The hearing comes as a debate emerges about big tech enforcement. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., said Republicans have not been tough enough on tech companies; however, Republicans have noted the expected record Facebook fine will have come from a GOP-controlled FTC. Meanwhile, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg... Read More

App stores drop apps after warnings of COPPA, FTC Act violations

(May 7, 2019) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced that Apple and Google app stores removed three dating apps that appeared to be violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. Ukraine-based Wildec, which operates Meet24, FastMeet and Meet4U, was informed that the apps were accessible to users age 12 and up, which violates COPPA's age provisions. The apps were also found to violate the COPPA Rule, which requires companies to post clear privacy policies whil... Read More

Irish DPC, consumer groups testify at hearing on US federal privacy bill

(May 2, 2019) U.S. lawmakers took the opportunity Wednesday morning to ask consumer groups how they should craft a federal law in a way that gives users tools and resources to control their data in ways that align with their expectations. Also on hand at the "Consumer Perspectives: Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework" hearing was Irish Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon to share her perspectives on enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation and how the U.S. might follow or diver... Read More

Facebook to add privacy positions as part of FTC settlement

(May 2, 2019) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is working on a settlement with Facebook that would help improve the social network's privacy practices, The New York Times reports. Negotiations have focused on Facebook adding privacy-related positions, including a privacy committee and an external assessor who would be hired by both Facebook and the FTC, in addition to paying an expected $3 billion to $5 billion fine. According to a Politico report, the FTC would ultimately have the final say in the hiring pr... Read More