The FTC has released is Privacy and Data Security Update (2017). The report provides a comprehensive overview of the agency’s enforcement, policy initiatives, and consumer outreach and business guidance in the areas of privacy and data security. The FTC is the country’s primary privacy and data security enforcer.
The FTC uses a variety of tools to protect consumers’ privacy and personal information including the initiation of aggressive enforcement actions to stop law violations. According to FTC defense lawyer and civil investigation demand (CID) attorney Richard B. Newman, it also requires companies to take affirmative steps to remediate unlawful behavior.
Among the FTC’s privacy and security actions announced in 2017 include settlements with computer manufacturer Lenovo and Vizio, one of the world’s largest makers of smart TVs. In addition, the FTC in 2017 brought its first actions enforcing the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.
The FTC also issues reports, conducts research and holds events bringing together stakeholders to discuss emerging issues in consumer privacy and security.
The FTC’s 2017 events included workshops examining the security and privacy issues related to connected cars, student privacy and education technology, the changing nature of identity theft, and informational injury.
The Commission’s privacy efforts have not let up. In January 2018, the FTC announced the agency’s first children’s privacy and security case involving connected toys against electronic toy maker VTech. The company agreed to pay $650,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal information from children without providing direct notice and obtaining their parent’s consent, and failing to take reasonable steps to secure the data it collected.
Additionally, in January, the FTC and the state of Nevada charged the parties responsible for revenge porn site MyEx.com with violating federal and state law by posting intimate images of people, together with their personal information, without their consent. One of the defendants agreed to a permanent ban on posting intimate images without consent. Finally, the Commission released a staff perspective detailing the key takeaways from the 2017 connected cars workshop.
The Commission will also be hosting its third annual PrivacyCon event on February 28, 2018.
Richard B. Newman is an Internet marketing compliance and regulatory defense attorney at Hinch Newman LLP focusing on advertising and digital media matters. His practice includes conducting legal compliance reviews of advertising campaigns, representing clients in investigations and enforcement actions brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General, commercial litigation, advising clients on promotional marketing programs, and negotiating and drafting legal agreements. You can follow him on LinkedIn.
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