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Posts Tagged ‘Federal Trade Commission’

Google to be fined millions by U.S. over Safari breach

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Google to be fined by US over Safari breach

The United States Federal Trade Commission will fine Google for its breach of Apple’s Safari web browser security, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The Internet giant is currently negotiating with the Commission over an acceptable fine, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars. The fine would be the first time the FTC has ever punished a company for violating Internet privacy safeguards. Google in February was found to be bypassing the privacy settings of millions of unknowing Safari users by using a special code to install cookies on a user’s computer, even when such actions were supposed to be blocked by the browser.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook to open D10 conference

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

AllThingsD on Tuesday announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook will be the keynote speaker on the opening night of its D10 conference. It will be Cook’s first appearance at the conference. Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs spoke at the event numerous times, last appearing at the D8 conference two years ago. Cook will join the likes of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, entrepreneur Sean Parker, Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek, Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus, as well as many others who will be speaking at the event. The D10 conference will run from May 29th to May 31st at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.

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U.S. Senator asks FTC to investigate Apple and Android

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Charles Schumer, a Democratic Senator from New York, has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Apple and Google over reports that applications on both mobile platforms can steal private photos and contacts, and export them to external servers, Reuters reported on Sunday. “These uses go well beyond what a reasonable user understands himself to be consenting to when he allows an app to access data on the phone for purposes of the app’s functionality,” Schumer said in a letter to the FTC. The senator understands that these actions violate the terms of service on both platforms, although “it is not clear whether or how those terms of service are being enforced and monitored.” As a result, Schumer believes “smartphone makers should be required to put in place safety measures to ensure third party applications are not able to violate a user’s personal privacy by stealing photographs or data that the user did not consciously decide to make public.” Schumer said it is the companies’ job to protect their customers. “When someone takes a private photo, on a private cell phone, it should remain just that: private,” he said.

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‘Anonymous’ hacks two more U.S. government websites

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Members from the notorious hacktivist collective “Anonymous Operations” have reportedly claimed responsibility for hacking two more government websites following the takedown of the Central Intelligence Agency’s website last week. The Associated Press on Friday reported that Anonymous had breached the United States Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection business center website as well as a National Consumer Protection Week website. Both sites were temporarily replaced by a “violent German-language video” focused on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA, which has been signed by a number of countries including the U.S. and Canada, aims to put forth international legal guidelines for fighting piracy. Neither affected agency has confirmed the attacks, but both the FTC business center website and the National Consumer Protection Week website were offline at the time of this writing.

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‘Anonymous’ hacks two more U.S. government websites

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Members from the notorious hacktivist collective “Anonymous Operations” have reportedly claimed responsibility for hacking two more government websites following the takedown of the Central Intelligence Agency’s website last week. The Associated Press on Friday reported that Anonymous had breached the United States Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection business center website as well as a National Consumer Protection Week website. Both sites were temporarily replaced by a “violent German-language video” focused on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA, which has been signed by a number of countries including the U.S. and Canada, aims to put forth international legal guidelines for fighting piracy. Neither affected agency has confirmed the attacks, but both the FTC business center website and the National Consumer Protection Week website were offline at the time of this writing.

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Facebook settles privacy suit with FTC; will submit independent audits for 20 years

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Facebook settled a privacy lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission on Friday and agreed to submit independent audits for the next 20 years. The FTC had accused the social network of being deceptive in its privacy practices, Reuters explained. ”Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said. Facebook will create two positions dedicated to privacy, including a chief privacy officer. In addition, Reuters said the social network must be transparent about what it does with personal user data in the future and it must receive user permission before changing how it shares private user data. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he “is committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy.”

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Privacy groups ask FTC to investigate Facebook for ‘secretly tracking users’

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and seven other privacy groups have contacted the U.S. Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate Facebook for “secretly tracking users after they logged off of Facebook’s webpage.” A 34-page complaint filed by EPIC asks for an injunction, investigation and “other relief” from the social network. EPIC said Facebook is home to more than 60 billion photographs and alleges it developed its “tag suggestions” feature to collect data on Facebook users “without knowledge of consent in order to develop facial recognition technology.” The complaint specifically states:

Given these extraordinary circumstances, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, The Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, urge the Commission to investigate Facebook, determine the extent of the harm to consumer privacy and safety, require Facebook to cease collection and use of users’ biometric data without their affirmative opt-in consent, require Facebook to give users meaningful control over their personal information, establish appropriate security safeguards, limit the disclosure of user information to third parties, and seek appropriate injunctive and compensatory relief.

EPIC’s letter also details how the social network violates its own terms of service and shows how hard it is for a user who has been tagged in a photo to delete the original image which, in most cases, is owned by somebody else. EPIC wants Facebook to create a detailed privacy program and to immediately suspend its face-tagging feature.

[Via AP]

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Hey Kids, the iPhone Will NOT Cure Acne [IPhone]

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Google reaches settlement with FTC in Google Buzz privacy case

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced it has reached a settlement with Google over its controversial Google Buzz social network. The FTC charged Google with using “deceptive tactics and [violating] its own privacy promises to consumers” when it launched Google Buzz — its Twitter-like social network — in 2010. The FTC’s proposed settlement will bar Google from “future privacy misrepresentations,” and requires that Google implement a comprehensive privacy program. The FTC has also called for regular, independent privacy audits during the next 20 years. “When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FCC. ”This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations.” The FTC argued that some Google users who declined to participate in Google Buzz were still enrolled in some features of the service. Similarly, it said that those who did decide to join Google Buzz were often confused on how to control the privacy settings.  This is not the only lawsuit that was brought against Google in relation to its Buzz service. In November 2010 Google was required to create an $8.5 million fund dedicated to “promoting privacy education on the web” as the result of a class action lawsuit.  Hit the jump for the full release.

FTC Charges Deceptive Privacy Practices in Google’s Rollout of Its Buzz Social Network

Google Agrees to Implement Comprehensive Privacy Program to Protect Consumer Data

Google Inc. has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it used deceptive tactics and violated its own privacy promises to consumers when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010. The agency alleges the practices violate the FTC Act. The proposed settlement bars the company from future privacy misrepresentations, requires it to implement a comprehensive privacy program, and calls for regular, independent privacy audits for the next 20 years. This is the first time an FTC settlement order has required a company to implement a comprehensive privacy program to protect the privacy of consumers’ information. In addition, this is the first time the FTC has alleged violations of the substantive privacy requirements of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which provides a method for U.S. companies to transfer personal data lawfully from the European Union to the United States.

“When companies make privacy pledges, they need to honor them,” said Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC. “This is a tough settlement that ensures that Google will honor its commitments to consumers and build strong privacy protections into all of its operations.”

According to the FTC complaint, Google launched its Buzz social network through its Gmail web-based email product. Although Google led Gmail users to believe that they could choose whether or not they wanted to join the network, the options for declining or leaving the social network were ineffective. For users who joined the Buzz network, the controls for limiting the sharing of their personal information were confusing and difficult to find, the agency alleged.

On the day Buzz was launched, Gmail users got a message announcing the new service and were given two options: “Sweet! Check out Buzz,” and “Nah, go to my inbox.” However, the FTC complaint alleged that some Gmail users who clicked on “Nah…” were nonetheless enrolled in certain features of the Google Buzz social network. For those Gmail users who clicked on “Sweet!,” the FTC alleges that they were not adequately informed that the identity of individuals they emailed most frequently would be made public by default. Google also offered a “Turn Off Buzz” option that did not fully remove the user from the social network.

In response to the Buzz launch, Google received thousands of complaints from consumers who were concerned about public disclosure of their email contacts which included, in some cases, ex-spouses, patients, students, employers, or competitors. According to the FTC complaint, Google made certain changes to the Buzz product in response to those complaints.

When Google launched Buzz, its privacy policy stated that “When you sign up for a particular service that requires registration, we ask you to provide personal information. If we use this information in a manner different than the purpose for which it was collected, then we will ask for your consent prior to such use.” The FTC complaint charges that Google violated its privacy policies by using information provided for Gmail for another purpose – social networking – without obtaining consumers’ permission in advance.

The agency also alleges that by offering options like “Nah, go to my inbox,” and “Turn Off Buzz,” Google misrepresented that consumers who clicked on these options would not be enrolled in Buzz. In fact, they were enrolled in certain features of Buzz.

The complaint further alleges that a screen that asked consumers enrolling in Buzz, “How do you want to appear to others?” indicated that consumers could exercise control over what personal information would be made public. The FTC charged that Google failed to disclose adequately that consumers’ frequent email contacts would become public by default.

Finally, the agency alleges that Google misrepresented that it was treating personal information from the European Union in accordance with the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor privacy framework. The framework is a voluntary program administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission. To participate, a company must self-certify annually to the Department of Commerce that it complies with a defined set of privacy principles. The complaint alleges that Google’s assertion that it adhered to the Safe Harbor principles was false because the company failed to give consumers notice and choice before using their information for a purpose different from that for which it was collected.

The proposed settlement bars Google from misrepresenting the privacy or confidentiality of individuals’ information or misrepresenting compliance with the U.S.-E.U Safe Harbor or other privacy, security, or compliance programs. The settlement requires the company to obtain users’ consent before sharing their information with third parties if Google changes its products or services in a way that results in information sharing that is contrary to any privacy promises made when the user’s information was collected. The settlement further requires Google to establish and maintain a comprehensive privacy program, and it requires that for the next 20 years, the company have audits conducted by independent third parties every two years to assess its privacy and data protection practices.

Google’s data practices in connection with its launch of Google Buzz were the subject of a complaint filed with the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center shortly after the service was launched.

The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint and accept the consent agreement package containing the proposed consent order for public comment was 5-0. Commissioner Rosch concurs with accepting, subject to final approval, the consent order for the purpose of public comment. The reasons for his concurrence are described in a separate Statement.

The FTC will publish a description of the consent agreement package in the Federal Register shortly. The agreement will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through May 1, 2011, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Interested parties can submit written comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Invitation To Comment” part of the “Supplementary Information” section. Comments in electronic form should be submitted using the following web link: https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/googlebuzz
and following the instructions on the web-based form. Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the respondent has actually violated the law. A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the respondent that the law has been violated. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. “Like” the FTC on Facebook and “follow” us on Twitter.

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FTC says its talking to Adobe about the problem with ‘Flash cookies’

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

We’ve already heard that the Federal Trade Commission is pushing for a “do not track” button of sorts to stop cookies from watching your every move, but it looks like it isn’t stopping at the usual, non-edible definiton of a “cookie.” Speaking at a press conference on Friday, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz also dropped the rather interesting tidbit that it’s been talking with Adobe about what it describes as “the Flash problem.” As Paid Content reports, newly-appointed FTC Chief Technologist Ed Felten later clarified that the problem in question is actually so-called “Flash cookies,” or what Adobe describes as “local shared objects.” As Felten explained, those can also be used for tracking purposes, but they usually aren’t affected by the privacy controls in web browsers — Chrome is one notable exception. For it’s part, Adobe says that Flash’s local shared objects were never designed for tracking purposes, and that it has repeatedly condemned such practices — the company also added that it would support “any industry initiative to foster clear, meaningful and persistent choice regarding online tracking.”

[Image courtesy dopefly dot com]

FTC says its talking to Adobe about the problem with ‘Flash cookies’ originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 04 Dec 2010 23:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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EU plans to end Apple antitrust investigation in light of relaxed iPhone rules

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

It seems like Apple’s legal team is constantly embroiled in a pitched battle of some sort, but this weekend they might get to relax — citing recent iPhone policy changes, the European Commission’s decided to stop breathing down their necks. Though the EU originally joined the US Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission in investigating why Cupertino chose to block third-party dev tools and ads earlier this year, the fact that Apple recently relaxed both restrictions (and created a repair program for iPhones purchased abroad) satisfied European regulators. “The Commission intends to close the investigations into these matters,” it wrote earlier today. There’s no guarantee that the US powers-that-be will exercise similar leniency, of course, but we wouldn’t be surprised — even inside Apple, the DoJ’s got other fish to fry.

EU plans to end Apple antitrust investigation in light of relaxed iPhone rules originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 25 Sep 2010 13:34:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Intel and FTC settle charges of anticompetitive conduct

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
It’s been quite a stretch since the Federal Trade Commission first investigated and then ultimately sued Intel for alleged anticompetitive conduct, but the saga has now come to a close — the two parties today announced a settlement of the charges. While that’s no doubt better than some of the alternatives for Intel, it’s hardly getting off easy — the settlement prohibits Intel from paying computer makers to buy its chips exclusively or to refuse to buy chips from others, and bans it from retaliating against other computer makers if they do business with non-Intel suppliers. What’s more, the settlement also requires Intel to modify its intellectual property agreements with AMD, NVIDIA, and VIA to give those companies “more freedom to consider mergers or joint ventures with other companies, without the threat of being sued by Intel for patent infringement,” and it requires that Intel maintain the PCI Express Bus interface “in a way that will not limit the performance of graphics processing chips” for at least six years, among some other stipulations. For Intel’s part, it notes that it hasn’t admitted to any wrongdoing in agreeing to the settlement, and says that the move allows it “to put an end to the expense and distraction of the FTC litigation.” Head on past the break for the full FTC press release.

Continue reading Intel and FTC settle charges of anticompetitive conduct

Intel and FTC settle charges of anticompetitive conduct originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 04 Aug 2010 13:20:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceThe New York Times  | Email this | Comments

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Intel’s Chief Wizard Conjures the Cloud, Apple and a Phone That Keep Secrets [Interview]

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

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