Blog Entry January 2014

(Con)tempting fate

We’re not lyricists, but had the 1972 hit “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim” been addressed to defendants in FTC actions, here’s our proposed rewrite:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.

You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger.
And you don’t engage in acts and practices in contempt of a United States District Judge’s Permanent Injunction.

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50th data security settlement offers golden opportunity to check your practices

Imagine doing a routine online search and having the search engine serve up files that include medical histories, notes from psychiatric sessions and children’s medical exams, sensitive information about drug abuse or pregnancy loss, and personal data like Social Security and driver’s license numbers.  That suggests a breach that “uh-oh” doesn’t begin to cover.  The FTC’s lawsuit against GMR Transcription Services &ndas

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A HReal HRisk HR can help HReduce

Today is Data Security Day.  You've educated your staff about limiting access to sensitive information, locking up confidential paperwork, and securing the network.  But Latanya Sweeney, the FTC’s new Chief Technologist, just clued us in about a potential security vulnerability you, your HR team, and your web master can do something right now to correct.

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Less than meets the eye?

When an ad purports to show a “right before your eyes” demonstration of a product in action, the visual must be a truthful representation of what it can do.  If that’s not the case, both the advertiser and the ad agency can find themselves in law enforcement quicksand.  That may have been news to Don Draper and his colleagues at Sterling Cooper in the early 60s, but it’s been a well-established legal tenet since then.  The FTC&

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Picture this: Honoring the certification requirements of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework

Business may seem borderless these days, but it’s important that companies honor applicable legal principles.  That’s especially true when it comes to privacy.  The good news for U.S.

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FTC says diaper claims didn't pass the smell test

What do dirty diapers and deceptive ads have in common?  (We’ll pause a moment so you can add your own punch line.)  Now that’s out of the way, the action against Portland-based Down to Earth Designs – consumers know them as gDiapers – is the FTC's latest effort to ensure the accuracy of environmental marketing claims.  But even if green isn't your game, the case also offers insights into what the FTC calls "unqu

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FTC challenges TeleCheck's checkered compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Whooping it up can be fun, but hooping it up – requiring consumers to jump through hoops to exercise their rights under the Fair Credit Report Act – is illegal.  That’s one message businesses can take from the FTC’s $3.5 million settlement with TeleCheck.

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15 minutes of game: Getting to the core of the FTC's $32.5 million settlement with Apple

Update (3/27/14): Apple will notify people about how to get refunds by April 15. The settlement requires Apple to provide full refunds for in-app charges made by kids without parental permission.

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Tax identity theft: What your business needs to know

They’re incredibly valuable.  In the wrong hands, they can be dangerous.  And they’re in your workplace right now.  What are they?  Your employees’ Social Security numbers.   Are you taking commonsense steps to thwart tax identity theft at your business?

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8 advertising potholes auto dealers should avoid

In a drive to encourage truth in auto advertising, the FTC has announced Operation Steer Clear – a coast-to-coast law enforcement sweep focusing on deceptive TV, newspaper, and online claims about sales, financing, and leasing.  If you have clients in the auto industry, the lessons of Operation Steer Clear can help keep them on the right track.

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FTC to advertisers: 7 New Year's resolutions

Sprinkle it on food.  Slather it on skin.  Place drops under the tongue.  Regardless of how consumers use your product, if you make weight loss claims, here’s a New Year’s resolution to consider:  Make sure you have sound science to support what you say.  That’s just one message marketers can take from FTC actions against Sensa, L’Occitane, HCG Diet Direct, and LeanSpa, settlements that will return big money back

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When DNA stands for "deceptive, not authenticated"

Back in the day, consumers looking for a personalized product had to settle for a monogrammed hanky.  GeneLink, Inc.

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