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Facebook Data Scandals Stoke Criticism That a Privacy Watchdog Too Rarely Bites

Lawmakers, consumer advocates and even former commission officials were clamoring for tough action against Facebook, arguing that it had violated an earlier F.T.C. consent decree barring it from misleading users about how their information was shared.

But the enforcement official, James A. Kohm, took a different view. In a previously undisclosed memo in March, Mr. Kohm — echoing Facebook’s own argument — cautioned that Facebook was not responsible for the consulting firm’s reported abuses.

Full article: Facebook Data Scandals Stoke Criticism That a Privacy Watchdog Too Rarely Bites – The New York Times

US Draft Bill Imposes Steep Penalties and Expands FTC’s Authority to Regulate Privacy

On November 1, 2018, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released a draft bill, the Consumer Data Protection Act , that seeks to “empower consumers to control their personal information.” The draft bill imposes heavy penalties on organizations and their executives, and would require senior executives of companies with more than one billion dollars per year of revenue or data on more than 50 million consumers to file annual data reports with the Federal Trade Commission.

Full article: Draft Bill Imposes Steep Penalties, Expands FTC’s Authority to Regulate Privacy

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework Joint Annual Review 2.0

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced several enforcement actions in late 2017, on the eve of the first annual joint EU-U.S. review of the Privacy Shield Framework. Now the second annual review of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework is underway, and the FTC has announced several new enforcement actions, which are meant to highlight the importance of the framework and reaffirm the U.S.’s commitment to strong privacy enforcement.

Full article: EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework Joint Annual Review 2.0

FTC’s Privacy Shield Enforcement Actions Show Broader Enforcement Lens

On September 27, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced proposed settlement agreements with four companies it alleges violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by misrepresenting their certification status and compliance with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. This latest set of enforcement actions brings the FTC’s Privacy Shield related enforcement to settlements with eight defendants since the framework was adopted in July 2016.

Source: FTC’s Privacy Shield Enforcement Actions Show Broader Enforcement Lens

The next antitrust standoff — Big Tech’s use of data

Competition regulators have a new cause célèbre: Big Tech’s use of data. From Europe’s top antitrust czar Margrethe Vestager announcing an investigation into Amazon last week over its potential abuse of digital information, to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission holding a public hearing in early November on big data and competition, officials are gearing up for a new round of antitrust battles.

The big question is what limits, if any, should policymakers place on the data empires at a time when companies from Amazon to Microsoft are searching for new business opportunities, including online groceries and gaming.

Full article: The next antitrust standoff — Big Tech’s use of data – POLITICO

FTC, privacy, and vendor due diligence—and opt-in consent

On April 30, 2018, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released for public comment an administrative complaint and proposed consent agreement with mobile phone manufacturer BLU Products Inc. and its owner and president.

Although the FTC has entered into many settlements relating to privacy and data security, this proposed settlement is particularly noteworthy for two reasons: (1) the FTC allegation that a company’s failure to implement appropriate security procedures to oversee a vendor’s security practices (including a lack of vendor due diligence) can violate Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act; and (2) the proposed remedy includes a separate notice and affirmative opt-in consent relating to collection, use, and sharing of certain consumer information.

Source: FTC, privacy, and vendor due diligence—and opt-in consent

FCC Defers Cambridge Analytica Investigation to FTC

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has said the FCC does not plan to investigate reports that Dish, Tivo and ComScore may have given Cambridge Analytica “the specific viewing habits of many subscribers in the United States.”

That is the company under scrutiny for getting access to Facebook user info in violation of the social media platform’s policies, though Facebook is getting just as much scrutiny.

Source: Pai Defers Cambridge Analytica Investigation to FTC – Broadcasting & Cable

FTC Warns Foreign Companies that Online Services Might Violate COPPA

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission sent letters to two foreign companies that market electronic devices and apps that appear to collect geolocation data from children, warning that the companies may be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.

The FTC’s COPPA Rule requires companies collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 to post clear privacy policies and to notify parents and get their consent before collecting, using or sharing personal information from a child.

Source: FTC Warns Gator Group, Tinitell that Online Services Might Violate COPPA | Federal Trade Commission

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