Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

  • FTC Releases 2018 Privacy and Data Security Update
    by jwolf on March 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s primary privacy and data security enforcer, released its annual report highlighting its privacy and data security work for 2018.The FTC’s privacy and security enforcement actions in 2018 included shutting down revenge porn website MyEx.com, approving a settlement with peer-to-peer payment service Venmo over deceptive privacy settings, approving an expanded settlement with Uber Technologies, Inc. to resolve data security and privacy allegations, and approving a privacy and data security settlement with mobile phone maker BLU Products, Inc. The FTC also obtained a $3 million civil penalty against RealPage, Inc., for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to ensure the accuracy of tenant screening information.As part of its strong commitment to protecting children’s privacy, the FTC announced separate settlements with electronic toy maker VTech Electronics Limited and online talent site Explore Talent over allegations that they violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC also is committed to enforcing the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. In 2018, five U.S. companies settled FTC charges that they misled consumers about their participation in the Framework.The FTC also issues reports, conducts research, and hosts events to discuss emerging issues in consumer privacy and security. In February 2018, FTC staff released a report examining security updates issued by mobile phone manufacturers, which coincided with the Commission’s third annual PrivacyCon event.As part of its public Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century initiative, last year the FTC also hosted hearings on big data, privacy, and competition; competition and consumer protection issues associated with the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics; and data security.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

  • FTC to Hold July 2019 Workshop on Product Repair Restrictions, Seeks Research in Advance
    by rgiura on March 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Staff of the Federal Trade Commission will host a workshop on July 16, 2019 to examine ways in which manufacturers may limit third-party repairs and is seeking research focused on such limitations.Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions will focus on how manufacturers may limit repairs by consumers and repair shops and whether those limitations affect consumer protection, including consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The statute, which the FTC enforces, is aimed at helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions and having access to remedies if a product does not perform as specified. The Act, among other things, prohibits manufacturers from conditioning warranty coverage on the use of particular products or services.The workshop will discuss some of the issues that arise when a manufacturer restricts or makes it impossible for a consumer or an independent repair shop to make product repairs and whether such restrictions undercut the Warranty Act’s protections.    Among the issues the workshop will examine include:The interplay between repair restrictions and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act’s anti-tying provision, which bars manufacturers from conditioning warranty coverage on the consumer’s use of  any article or service that is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name;Whether repair restrictions affect the market for extended warranties and service agreements offered by manufacturers and retailers;The types of repair restrictions employed by manufacturers and the extent to which these restrictions are used;The repair market in the United States, and the impact that manufacturers’ repair restrictions have on small and local businesses;Whether manufacturers use software updates that may make products obsolete or unfixable if they have been previously repaired by consumers or repair shops;Whether repair restrictions are needed to reduce the risk of physical injury to consumers and independent repair shop workers, to protect manufacturers from liability for products improperly repaired by independent repair shops or individuals, or for any other reason; andWhether consumers understand the existence and the effects of repair restrictions.In preparation of the workshop, FTC staff is calling for empirical research and data concerning the prevalence and impact of manufacturers’ repair restrictions. These limitations may include code that disables products that have been repaired by someone other than the manufacturer; product designs that inhibit repairs (such as attaching batteries with glue that only the manufacturer can remove); contractual post-sale or licensing restrictions; or proprietary diagnostic software and replacement parts. Research and data must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 30, 2019.FTC staff also invites comments from the public on issues related to manufacturers’ repair restrictions. Comments may be filed until September 16, 2019, electronically or in written form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “Nixing the Fix” on your comment and on the envelope and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street, SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024.The public may also submit suggestions on potential workshop participants to nixingthefix@ftc.gov.The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C., and will be webcast live on the FTC’s website. The agenda, directions to the Constitution Center building, and a list of speakers will be available in the future on the event webpage.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

  • FTC to Mail Refund Checks to Victims of Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
    by jwolf on March 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The FTC will be mailing refund checks totaling more than $644,000 to people who lost money to a get-rich-quick scheme that falsely claimed they could earn significant money working online by using products marketed as “secret codes.”The refunds stem from a settlement with the operators of the Mobile Money Code scheme, which also used the names eMobile Code, Auto Mobile Code, Easy Cash Code, Full Money System, and Secret Money System. The defendants claimed that people could make substantial income using their “secret codes” online. In reality, these products were generic software applications for building mobile-friendly websites.As part of the settlement, the FTC will be sending 12,072 checks averaging about $53 to victims of the scheme. The checks will expire after 60 days. These are legitimate checks, and the FTC urges people to cash them before they expire. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.Consumers who have questions about the refunds should contact the refund administrator, Epiq Systems, at 1-888-418-0477.FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $2.3 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

  • FTC Submits Annual Budget Request, Performance Plan and Performance Report to Congress
    by rgiura on March 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The Federal Trade Commission has submitted to Congress its Fiscal Year 2020 budget request in support of the President’s FY 2020 budget for the federal government. The budget request also includes the FY 2020 Budget Overview Statement, Performance Plan for FY 2019 and FY 2020, and Performance Report for FY 2018, as required under the Government Performance and Results and Modernization Act of 2010.The Commission vote to submit the budget request, performance plan and performance report to Congress was 5-0. (FTC File No P859900; the staff contact James Hale, Financial Management Office, 202-326-2385.)The agency has also published an addendum to its strategic plan. The addendum removes one performance measure from the plan and replaces it with two new performance measures. The FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan is the FTC’s road map of goals, objectives and strategies that guides the agency’s work and serves as the basis for reporting the agency’s performance results.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.&nbs […]

  • Four Defendants Agree to Settle FTC Allegations They Deceived Consumers with Business Coaching Scheme
    by rgiura on March 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Four defendants in a multi-million dollar business coaching scheme known as Digital Altitude, including the scheme’s former CEO, will pay $1.9 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that they deceived consumers by claiming they could earn “six figures in 90 days.”In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the defendants behind Digital Altitude took in millions of dollars by persuading consumers to pay for a series of tiered memberships with increasing fees and falsely claimed that consumers would learn how to make substantial income with an online business. The defendants promised consumers they would receive individualized coaching from successful marketers that would provide what they needed to build a successful business. In reality, these marketers were merely salespeople selling higher membership levels in the defendants’ program, according to the FTC’s complaint.The settlement orders with former Digital Altitude CEO Michael Force, former Digital Altitude Chief Operating Officer Mary Dee, former Digital Altitude Chief Technology Officer Alan Moore and Thermography for Life, LLC (also doing business as Living Exceptionally, Inc.) impose a $54 million judgment, which will be suspended after they surrender assets totaling approximately $1.9 million. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.As part of the settlement orders, the defendants also are permanently banned from creating, marketing, promoting, or offering businesses coaching or investment opportunity services; engaging in credit card laundering and fraudulent payment processing activities; and making misleading claims related to business and coaching opportunities.The FTC last year announced settlements with three other defendants involved in the coaching scheme: Sean Brown, who allegedly helped operate the scheme; Morgan Johnson, an officer of Digital Altitude LLC; and The Upside LLC, which processed credit card payments for the scheme. The remaining defendants, including Digital Altitude LLC, are in default; the Court has granted the FTC’s motion for default judgment related to those defendants.The Commission vote approving the stipulated final orders with the four defendants was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered the orders on March 5, 2019.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]



  • FTC Releases 2018 Privacy and Data Security Update
    by jwolf on March 15, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s primary privacy and data security enforcer, released its annual report highlighting its privacy and data security work for 2018.The FTC’s privacy and security enforcement actions in 2018 included shutting down revenge porn website MyEx.com, approving a settlement with peer-to-peer payment service Venmo over deceptive privacy settings, approving an expanded settlement with Uber Technologies, Inc. to resolve data security and privacy allegations, and approving a privacy and data security settlement with mobile phone maker BLU Products, Inc. The FTC also obtained a $3 million civil penalty against RealPage, Inc., for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to ensure the accuracy of tenant screening information.As part of its strong commitment to protecting children’s privacy, the FTC announced separate settlements with electronic toy maker VTech Electronics Limited and online talent site Explore Talent over allegations that they violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC also is committed to enforcing the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. In 2018, five U.S. companies settled FTC charges that they misled consumers about their participation in the Framework.The FTC also issues reports, conducts research, and hosts events to discuss emerging issues in consumer privacy and security. In February 2018, FTC staff released a report examining security updates issued by mobile phone manufacturers, which coincided with the Commission’s third annual PrivacyCon event.As part of its public Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century initiative, last year the FTC also hosted hearings on big data, privacy, and competition; competition and consumer protection issues associated with the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics; and data security.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

  • FTC to Hold July 2019 Workshop on Product Repair Restrictions, Seeks Research in Advance
    by rgiura on March 13, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Staff of the Federal Trade Commission will host a workshop on July 16, 2019 to examine ways in which manufacturers may limit third-party repairs and is seeking research focused on such limitations.Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions will focus on how manufacturers may limit repairs by consumers and repair shops and whether those limitations affect consumer protection, including consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The statute, which the FTC enforces, is aimed at helping consumers make informed purchasing decisions and having access to remedies if a product does not perform as specified. The Act, among other things, prohibits manufacturers from conditioning warranty coverage on the use of particular products or services.The workshop will discuss some of the issues that arise when a manufacturer restricts or makes it impossible for a consumer or an independent repair shop to make product repairs and whether such restrictions undercut the Warranty Act’s protections.    Among the issues the workshop will examine include:The interplay between repair restrictions and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act’s anti-tying provision, which bars manufacturers from conditioning warranty coverage on the consumer’s use of  any article or service that is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name;Whether repair restrictions affect the market for extended warranties and service agreements offered by manufacturers and retailers;The types of repair restrictions employed by manufacturers and the extent to which these restrictions are used;The repair market in the United States, and the impact that manufacturers’ repair restrictions have on small and local businesses;Whether manufacturers use software updates that may make products obsolete or unfixable if they have been previously repaired by consumers or repair shops;Whether repair restrictions are needed to reduce the risk of physical injury to consumers and independent repair shop workers, to protect manufacturers from liability for products improperly repaired by independent repair shops or individuals, or for any other reason; andWhether consumers understand the existence and the effects of repair restrictions.In preparation of the workshop, FTC staff is calling for empirical research and data concerning the prevalence and impact of manufacturers’ repair restrictions. These limitations may include code that disables products that have been repaired by someone other than the manufacturer; product designs that inhibit repairs (such as attaching batteries with glue that only the manufacturer can remove); contractual post-sale or licensing restrictions; or proprietary diagnostic software and replacement parts. Research and data must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 30, 2019.FTC staff also invites comments from the public on issues related to manufacturers’ repair restrictions. Comments may be filed until September 16, 2019, electronically or in written form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “Nixing the Fix” on your comment and on the envelope and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street, SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex B), Washington, DC 20024.The public may also submit suggestions on potential workshop participants to nixingthefix@ftc.gov.The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C., and will be webcast live on the FTC’s website. The agenda, directions to the Constitution Center building, and a list of speakers will be available in the future on the event webpage.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

  • FTC to Mail Refund Checks to Victims of Get-Rich-Quick Scheme
    by jwolf on March 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The FTC will be mailing refund checks totaling more than $644,000 to people who lost money to a get-rich-quick scheme that falsely claimed they could earn significant money working online by using products marketed as “secret codes.”The refunds stem from a settlement with the operators of the Mobile Money Code scheme, which also used the names eMobile Code, Auto Mobile Code, Easy Cash Code, Full Money System, and Secret Money System. The defendants claimed that people could make substantial income using their “secret codes” online. In reality, these products were generic software applications for building mobile-friendly websites.As part of the settlement, the FTC will be sending 12,072 checks averaging about $53 to victims of the scheme. The checks will expire after 60 days. These are legitimate checks, and the FTC urges people to cash them before they expire. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.Consumers who have questions about the refunds should contact the refund administrator, Epiq Systems, at 1-888-418-0477.FTC law enforcement actions led to more than $2.3 billion in refunds for consumers in a one-year period between July 2017 and June 2018. To learn more about the FTC’s refund program, visit www.ftc.gov/refunds.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

  • FTC Submits Annual Budget Request, Performance Plan and Performance Report to Congress
    by rgiura on March 11, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    The Federal Trade Commission has submitted to Congress its Fiscal Year 2020 budget request in support of the President’s FY 2020 budget for the federal government. The budget request also includes the FY 2020 Budget Overview Statement, Performance Plan for FY 2019 and FY 2020, and Performance Report for FY 2018, as required under the Government Performance and Results and Modernization Act of 2010.The Commission vote to submit the budget request, performance plan and performance report to Congress was 5-0. (FTC File No P859900; the staff contact James Hale, Financial Management Office, 202-326-2385.)The agency has also published an addendum to its strategic plan. The addendum removes one performance measure from the plan and replaces it with two new performance measures. The FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan is the FTC’s road map of goals, objectives and strategies that guides the agency’s work and serves as the basis for reporting the agency’s performance results.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.&nbs […]

  • Four Defendants Agree to Settle FTC Allegations They Deceived Consumers with Business Coaching Scheme
    by rgiura on March 8, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Four defendants in a multi-million dollar business coaching scheme known as Digital Altitude, including the scheme’s former CEO, will pay $1.9 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that they deceived consumers by claiming they could earn “six figures in 90 days.”In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the defendants behind Digital Altitude took in millions of dollars by persuading consumers to pay for a series of tiered memberships with increasing fees and falsely claimed that consumers would learn how to make substantial income with an online business. The defendants promised consumers they would receive individualized coaching from successful marketers that would provide what they needed to build a successful business. In reality, these marketers were merely salespeople selling higher membership levels in the defendants’ program, according to the FTC’s complaint.The settlement orders with former Digital Altitude CEO Michael Force, former Digital Altitude Chief Operating Officer Mary Dee, former Digital Altitude Chief Technology Officer Alan Moore and Thermography for Life, LLC (also doing business as Living Exceptionally, Inc.) impose a $54 million judgment, which will be suspended after they surrender assets totaling approximately $1.9 million. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.As part of the settlement orders, the defendants also are permanently banned from creating, marketing, promoting, or offering businesses coaching or investment opportunity services; engaging in credit card laundering and fraudulent payment processing activities; and making misleading claims related to business and coaching opportunities.The FTC last year announced settlements with three other defendants involved in the coaching scheme: Sean Brown, who allegedly helped operate the scheme; Morgan Johnson, an officer of Digital Altitude LLC; and The Upside LLC, which processed credit card payments for the scheme. The remaining defendants, including Digital Altitude LLC, are in default; the Court has granted the FTC’s motion for default judgment related to those defendants.The Commission vote approving the stipulated final orders with the four defendants was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered the orders on March 5, 2019.The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources. […]

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