Items tagged with FTC

Every parent fears it: In addition to the physical danger to your expensive tablet or smartphone when you hand it over to your child to play with, you’re always worried that they’ll go on an unauthorized in-app spending spree and get you slapped with a monstrous bill. Apple got body slammed by the FTC over its in-app purchasing practices this January, and now Cupertino is ensuring that its chief competitor is getting the same treatment. According to Politico, Apple general counsel sent a message to FTC Chairperson Edith Ramirez and Democratic Commissioner Julie Brill hinting strongly that perhaps they should have a look at Google’s practices in that area, as well. (Credit: N9LXI via... Read more...
Amazon is willing to go to court if the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decides to sue the e-commerce giant for refusing to pay a penalty over mobile in-app purchases made by children on smartphone applications. The FTC wants Amazon to enter into a settlement similar to the one it reached with Apple earlier this year, but after weeks of negotiations, Amazon says it's "deeply disappointing" that regulators are unwilling to see the difference between the two situations. According to the FTC, thousands of consumers have complained about unauthorized in-app charges by children on Amazon devices. The complaints collectively add up to millions of dollars, and it was just last month that Amazon finally... Read more...
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is accusing T-Mobile, otherwise known as the "Un-carrier" (a name T-Mobile gave itself), of being un-cool by charging its wireless subscribers hundreds of millions of dollars for third-party services they never signed up for. These services include things like ringtones, wallpapers, horoscopes, and other such add-ons. According to the FCC's complaint, T-Mobile allegedly charged consumers a monthly fee that was typically $9.99 for the above mentioned features. The FTC says that in many cases, the consumers never signed up to receive any of the services, thus T-Mobile is engaging in a practice referred to as "cramming," according to a report in The Wall Street... Read more...
Lumped on top of the many engineering challenges that Tesla has had to solve while bringing all-electric vehicles to market is a problem with its sales model. Tesla wants to sell its cars directly to consumers, which seems like a sensible, simple thing to do, but there are laws and regulations all over the country that prevent just that, and some states including New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland have specifically prohibited Tesla sales. Fortunately for Tesla, three FTC officials co-wrote a blog post backing the electric carmaker’s business model and explaining why it should be allowed to stand. Tesla Model S “When the automobile industry was in its infancy, auto manufacturers recruited... Read more...
Facebook’s blockbuster $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp has raised a lot of questions--such as “Why?”--but among those unanswered queries is a concern that Facebook will collect user data for advertising purposes, which some privacy groups argue cuts against expectations that WhatsApp users previously had about what their data would be used (or not used) for. According to Bloomberg, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy are both calling for the FTC to examine how WhatsApp users’ privacy will be affected by the Facebook acquisition. Image Source: Flickr (Sam Azgor) “Facebook routinely makes use of user information for advertising... Read more...
TRENDnet, a maker of home networking and security products, has agreed to settle charges brought on by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that its "lax security practices" left consumers susceptible to remote viewing by hackers. Specifically, the FTC took issue with TRENDnet's SecurView line of cameras and the fact that they were being marketed as "secure." "In fact, the cameras had faulty software that left them open to online viewing, and in some instances listening, by anyone with the cameras' Internet address," the FTC said. According to the FTC, from at least April 2010 TRENDnet failed to used reasonable security to design and test its software, including a setting for the cameras'... Read more...
Look out, Internet -- the government's moving in on your wild, wild west territory. The Federal Trade Commission has just announced new guidelines for online advertisers, hoping to ensure that search results and ads are distinguished from each other. The entity has found that in recent years, paid search results have become less distinguishable as advertising, and the FTC is urging the search industry to make sure the distinction is clear. Here's a blurb from the release: "According to both the FTC staff’s original search engine guidance and the updated guidance, failing to clearly and prominently distinguish advertising from natural search results could be a deceptive practice.  The... Read more...
Hopefully Google didn't pop the top on expensive bottles of champagne celebrating the $1.1 billion acquisition of Waze, a popular GPS-based turn-by-turn navigational app for mobile that hard drawn interest from a number of suitors, including Facebook. The expensive acquisition has drawn the attention of antitrust lawyers at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which have contacted Google about its purchase. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the FTC may have asked Google to hang tight and refrain from baking Waze into its software and service until the investigation is complete. At issue for the FTC is whether or not Waze would have become a direct competitor with Google and its... Read more...
For some, spending a billion bucks comes easy. Just this week, Yahoo closed its deal to acquire Tumblr with next to no fuss from regulators. But when it comes to Google, it seems that the feds are constantly casting glances. The company recently announced its intentions to acquire rival mapping firm Waze for over a billion dollars, but now the Federal Trade Commission has launched an antitrust investigation to see if the deal will be allowed. Google has confirmed that such an investigation is ongoing, but won't speak further on the details. Media reports suggest that the breaking up of the deal is unlikely, as the FTC would, at this point, need to provide evidence that the combination of companies... Read more...
According to a new report, Google has run afoul of the FTC, which is an unenviable spot to be in. Sources told Bloomberg that FTC staff has formally recommended the suit to the group’s commissioners. The issue is whether Google misused its patent portfolio to make it difficult for the competition to license Google-owned patents and then sued those same companies for patent infringement. Primarily, according to the report, the infringed-upon patents are ones Google acquired when it bought Motorola Mobility, and they pertain to 3G, WiFi, and video streaming technology. FTC building in Washington, D.C. Google inherited some of that litigation when it acquired Motorola, but the FTC may take... Read more...
As facial recognition technology begins to look like something that’s actually quite useful and powerful, the FTC is trying to stay out in front of it by developing a set of best practices for commercial applications. Why is the FTC so proactive about addressing facial recognition technology? This passage from the agency’s Facing Facts: Best Practices for Common Uses of Facial Recognition Technologies report sums it up fairly well: In the most advanced application, companies can use the technology to compare individuals’ facial characteristics across different images in order to identify them. In this application, an image of an individual is matched with another image of the... Read more...
We’ve all seen our share of bogus social media activity, be it fake likes, ratings, or reviews, that are paid for by a company trying to goose its sales or generate buzz about some product. According to research firm Gartner, the amount of that bogus activity will account for 10-15% of all social media activity by 2014. To be clear, the problem is not that companies are sponsoring content; that’s been a common practice for a long time in a variety of media, and as long as there are appropriate disclosures, there’s no problem. The issue with this kind of covert marketing is that it’s essentially a lie. The FTC certainly feels that way; in 2009, the commission ruled that... Read more...
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is apparently fed up with the growing number of patent disputes that could lead to import bans. So much, in fact, that the FTC felt compelled to ink a five-page letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) outlining its concerns with the way things are currently handled, which have "significant implications for the public interest." In the letter, the FTC stats that instances where companies try to block competing firms from importing their products into the U.S. could cause "substantial harm to U.S. competition, consumers, and innovation." In a five-page letter, the FTC makes it clear it's tired of companies trying to game patent law. (Image Source:... Read more...
W3 Innovations, the parent company of prominent iOS app developer Broken Thumb Apps, has today settled with the Federal Trade Commission over collection of children's personal data through its iPhone and iPod Touch applications. W3 and its subsidiary Broken Thumb Apps, which is responsible for games like Emily's Dress Up, Truth or Dare, and Zombie Duck Hunt, had allegedly "collected, maintained, and/or disclosed personal information" entered into its various child-targeted applications, according to the FTC. The complaint claims that the company collected and maintained a list of more than 30,000 e-mails, as well as personal information from more than 300 Emily's Girl World users... Read more...
Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next