Privacy & Data Security

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has just released its Annual Summary of Consumer Complaints, and debt collection (29%), identity theft (16%), and imposter scams (11%) top the list of the most common categories of consumer complaints.

The Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book is produced every year from complaints received by the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, including consumer complaints and complaints forwarded from state and federal law enforcement agencies, national consumer protection organizations, and non-governmental organizations. While the data book consists of unverified complaints, it is a useful tool for tracking developments and issues important to consumers.

The FTC’s summary overall shows little change from last year.  There were a few categories that changed places; for example debt collection complaints traded places with identity theft to claim the top spot, but the FTC also noted that the spike in debt collection complaints was due in large part to one data contributor employing a new mobile app to collect such complaints.  Internet Services, which had been number 10 fell out of the top ten to be replaced by Credit Bureaus, information furnishers and report users.
Continue Reading Debt Collection Tops 2015 List of Most Common Consumer Complaints

Even in this age of online, social media and mobile advertising, advertisers continue to look to advertising agencies or other outside service providers for assistance. Agencies today are not only assisting with development of digital creative materials, but also with advertisement placement, serving, and delivery. However, today more than ever you are your brother’s (or sister’s) keeper and advertisers need to be aware of the legal risks and issues associated with relying upon third parties in these areas. The best defense available to advertisers against these potential pitfalls has been and remains their agreements with the agencies. Don’t rely on a general or outdated contract form that was last updated when the VHS and Beta rivalry was the hot tech topic. Here is a list of suggested concepts that should be addressed and incorporated, as applicable, into advertising agreements:
Continue Reading Guidelines for Negotiating Online Advertising Arrangements

Earlier this summer, a federal judge in the Southern District of California dismissed a potential class action suit against Redbox over the movie rental company’s use of confirmations for opt-out text messaging. Judge Dana Sabraw agreed with Redbox that a declaratory ruling from the FCC in November 2012 had held that confirmatory, noncommercial text messages following an opt-out request do not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), so long as the texts do not contain promotional or marketing information. She further held that links to websites that themselves include promotional information do not constitute “promotional or marketing” materials, in violation of the TCPA. In doing so, Judge Sabraw handed a major victory to businesses that rely on confirmatory text messages instead of phone calls and mass mailings. Notably, however, her ruling avoided the more significant issue at stake in the case, involving the constitutionality of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act under the First Amendment.
Continue Reading The TCPA and Confirmatory Opt Out Text Messages

In a few short months, revised FCC rules for calling or texting cell phones will take effect, creating new potential pitfalls for telemarketers that call or text cell phones.  For marketers, the revised rules command heightened attention, as the Center for Disease Control in 2012 estimated that over half of Americans either do not have

On Monday, June 17, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez named Jessica Rich as Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection.  No stranger to the FTC, Rich has served in a variety of commission leadership roles for over a decade.  Rich was the Bureau’s Deputy Director from November 2009 to January 2012.  Since

The Clock Is Ticking – Is COPPA Compliance a “Mission Impossible”?

On July 1, 2013, sweeping new regulations for marketing to children take effect. In updating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has extended its reach to new businesses and new information.

In this upcoming session presented by

For now, online retailers can rest assured that they are not liable under California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act if they require customers to enter their addresses or phone numbers in order to complete downloadable online purchases.  On February 4, 2013, the California Supreme Court held in Apple Inc. v. Superior Court (Krescent) that the Credit

Just in time for Christmas, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has unveiled its long-anticipated update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA Rule”).  The COPPA Rule, which has been in place since 1999, imposes a variety of privacy requirements on “operators” of websites and online services that are “directed to children” under

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of Angry Birds® danc’d in their heads,

And Mama with her iPad®, and I with my Nook®, just stared at the screens, all chatting forsook…

No one can deny the prominent role electronic devices play in our daily lives, and children, unsurprisingly, have jumped