Items tagged with FTC

Earlier this week, WhatsApp made the surprising move to begin sharing user information with its parent company, Facebook. WhatsApp's original stated goal was to know “as little about you as possible”, but that mantra seems to have been thrown out the window in an effort to further increases Facebook’s booming mobile ad revenue. WhatsApp didn’t make any qualms about the benefits of such a move, writing on Thursday, “By connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you... Read more...
When it comes to the often slow pace of security updates being pushed to the mobile devices that are at center of our daily digital lives, both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are looking for some answers. The FCC is taking U.S. wireless carriers (like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile) to task while the FTC has hit up top hardware manufacturers including Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and HTC. At a time when U.S. intelligence agencies like the FBI and NSA are looking for ways to use vulnerabilities to their advantage to solve crimes... Read more...
There have been several high profile security breaches over the last couple of years, and in many instances, cyber thieves were able to extract personal information of their target's customers. Usually this resulted in the company offering a free year of identity theft protection to those affected, though in the future, firms may not get off quite so easily. A lower court ruling from 2014 giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the authority to regulate cyber security was upheld recently by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia by a 3-0 vote. Following the ruling, the FTC may... Read more...
The Federal Trade Commission has left its stamp on the crowdfunding scene by taking legal action against Erik Chevalier, the Kickstarter project creator who raised more than $122,000 funds from 1,246 backers to produce a board game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City. In the end, it was the backers who were doomed, as the project was cancelled without any refunds. Chevalier, who was also doing business as The Forking Path Co., issued a number of updates on the Kickstarter project saying that progress was being made. After 14 months, however, he announced that the project was cancelled and... Read more...
Give RadioShack credit, the iconic electronics chain lasted nearly a century and survived part of the Internet era before ultimately filing for bankruptcy. However, the chain's impressive 94-year run doesn't give it a free pass to treat customer data like an asset, or so that's the stance the Federal Trade Commission is taking. The FTC sent a letter (PDF) to the court appointed consumer privacy ombudsman in RadioShack's case. In the letter, FTC direct Jessica L. Rich notes that RadioShack is in possession of personal information for over 117 million customers, information that includes names, addresses... Read more...
The FTC has just laid the smackdown on yet another company that's been found guilty of exploiting mobile users without their knowledge. The FTC found that the company, called Nomi Technologies, even went against its own privacy policy mere months after it promised not to, in late 2012. Nomi's business model involves working with retail outlets to install sensors in their stores. As a customer walks in, these sensors fetch a phone's MAC address, which is broadcast broadcast via Wi-Fi, and begin to track it. You can see where this is going. With information in-hand, Nomi is able to tell these retailers... Read more...
As we’ve shown in the past, the FTC doesn’t take too kindly to “unlimited” data plans that are anything but. Companies like AT&T and Verizon Wireless still honor grandfather unlimited data plans, and in the past have throttled customers once they reached a certain threshold (5GB in the case of customers on AT&T’s wireless network). However, prepaid carrier TracFone has caught the wrath of the FTC for not only throttling customers on plans that were marketed as unlimited, but also not making it plainly clear that customers would be throttled for going over certain fixed limits within a billing... Read more...
Dish Network is in hot water with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for outright violating the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), including the "Do Not Call" registry, by placing tens of millions of unsolicited calls to numbers that appear on the list. In all, Dish Network and its retail partners made some 57 million unauthorized outbound calls. The FTC is holding Dish Network responsible for illegal calls made by its vendors to numbers on the DNC registry since Dish retained the retailers, authorized the retailers to market Dish products and services, and because the retailers... Read more...
AT&T agreed to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to the tune of $105 million in early October for its part in a “cramming” scheme that bilked customers out of millions of dollars. Cramming refers to any unauthorized charges on a customer’s cell phone bill, and typically come in the form of unsolicited text messages. Today is T-Mobile’s turn, as it has agreed to a settlement with the FTC and will pay at least $90 million. That sum will be compromised mostly of consumer refunds, but $18 million will go towards fines and penalties owed to all 50 states and $4.5 million will go directly... Read more...
Following an investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Google has agreed to refund at minimum $19 million to Android users for unauthorized in-app purchases. The search giant has already begun sending out emails to potentially affected individuals, which includes people who have made at least one in-app purchase between March 1, 2011, and November 18, 2014. If you're one of them, be on the lookout for an email; though don't feel too rushed to respond. You have until December 2, 2015 to request refunds on any and all in-app purchases made by your children without... Read more...
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is bringing the legal hammer down on tech support scammers who trick people into thinking there's something wrong with their computer that they're able to fix, or otherwise offering to speed up your PC. What they're really doing is charging for services that aren't necessary, though sometimes their motives are even more nefarious. Depending on where your web travels take you, the FTC says the newest trick involves scammers luring victims to their websites with pop-ads or web searches. Once there, a bogus program appears to detect several errors with your PC. The... Read more...
We've covered the battles between ISPs and various large-scale content providers multiple times before. From deliberately throttling Netflix users to older spats that prevented Time Warner customers from watching cable channels they'd legally paid for, these kinds of disagreements are common in America these days. A new report from M-Lab, however, illustrates the degree to which these battles can impact all of an ISPs customers, including those who don't use video on demand services like Netflix. Details on how M-Lab configured its tests are available in this PDF, but the company ran its benchmarks... Read more...
Today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission filed suit against AT&T stating that the wireless carrier misled and deceived millions of its customers through data throttling for those with its unlimited data plan. On top of that, customers who cancelled their accounts because of throttling we then charged early termination fees. "AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise," said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez in a press release. "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited." Image Credit: Flickr (Bill Bradford) According... Read more...
From the beginning, the anti-net neutrality argument has been built on a single premise: Give companies free rein to charge more money for services, and they'll respond by improving the customer experience, rolling out service to more people, and aggressively adopting faster technology. Over the past few months, Netflix has served as an unofficial test drive for this theory -- the company has begun paying both Comcast and Verizon directly to improve Netflix performance. The result?  Comcast, at least, has improved dramatically. Verizon, on the other hand, continues to crater -- its FiOS service... Read more...
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