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FTC Is Now on Ashley Madison's Case

New CEO says they're 'truly sorry' for the site messing up people's lives

(Newser) - Two new executives at cheaters dating site Ashley Madison are offering up a mega-mea culpa for last year's hack -and- leak of user information, but that's likely not going to stem the flow of issues its parent company is now facing, including class-action lawsuits and an investigation by... More »

'Creepy' Search Engine Taps Into Private Webcams

How to secure the Internet of Things?

(Newser) - Ever wonder how hackable your private webcams are? Not only are they hackable, a search engine exists that has a section devoted to unsecured webcam images, showing everything from cribs to kitchens to private laboratories, Ars Technica reports. Called "creepy" by Quartz , the Shodan search engine can access webcams... More »

Snuggies Maker to Pay $8M for Deceiving You

That Snuggie wasn't really $19.99

(Newser) - If you have a Snuggie stuffed away in a drawer, you may have been had, at least according to the Federal Trade Commission. Snuggie maker Allstar Marketing Group has settled with the FTC to the tune of $7.5 million over allegations that the as-seen-on-TV company levied unreasonable "processing... More »

Revenge Porn Figure Asks Google for Privacy Help

Craig Brittain wants photos, certain web pages removed

(Newser) - Irony alert: A guy who ran a website that trafficked in revenge porn and encouraged men to post unauthorized photos of exes is now asking Google to protect his privacy. Craig Brittain, who ran the website IsAnybodyDown.com before the FTC booted him from the business last month , wants Google... More »

Dr. Oz's 'Magic' Diet Bean Loses Lone Study Backing It

Authors retract claims he cited after FTC alleged results 'hopelessly flawed'

(Newser) - In 2012, celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz endorsed green coffee bean extract as a "magic weight-loss cure" even though only one scientific study backed these claims—and it was funded by the extract manufacturer. This week Oz is backed further into a corner as the study's two writers... More »

Lawsuits: Firms Scamming Folks WIth Student Loans

Illinois attorney general warns consumers about 'predatory' offers

(Newser) - Debt-settlement companies have long targeted people saddled with mortgages or credit card debt, promising more manageable monthly payments, settlements, or even complete loan forgiveness—but now these companies are targeting individuals bogged down with student loans, reports the New York Times . And these companies' tactics may not be on the... More »

FTC: T-Mobile Crammed Bogus Charges Onto Bills

And made hundreds of millions in the process

(Newser) - If you're a T-Mobile customer, the following is unlikely to deepen your love for your mobile carrier. The FTC today filed a complaint alleging that T-Mobile has for years "crammed bogus charges onto customers' bills," making hundreds of millions in the process, per a press release on... More »

Apple to Refund Parents for Kids' App Purchases

Company settles with FTC over complaints

(Newser) - Apple has agreed to refund at least $32.5 million to customers, settling a complaint from the FTC. The complaint stemmed from customers claiming young kids were able to make in-app purchases without parental consent. Apple users might be familiar with this: After purchasing an app using a password in... More »

Aggressive Debt Collector Pays $3.2M Fine

Promises to stop calling people multiple times a day

(Newser) - It's a little solace perhaps for people besieged by phone calls morning, noon, and night by debt-collection firm Expert Global Solutions: The company agreed to pay the FTC a $3.2 million fine and ease up on the harassment of debtors, reports Reuters . It's the biggest such fine... More »

Time for Fine Print on Social Media Ads: FTC

The old advertising rules still apply

(Newser) - Just because an ad's on Twitter doesn't mean it can get away with being misleading. The FTC today unveiled new guidelines for social media advertising, saying that it must adhere to the same essential rules as traditional advertising. For instance, ads must make clear the fact that they... More »

Obama to Promote Edith Ramirez to Chair FTC

Move opens space for another Democrat on commission

(Newser) - President Obama will promote Federal Trade Commission member Edith Ramirez to chair the agency, a White House official tells Politico , opening the door for a third Democrat to join the commission. Ramirez has been at the FTC since 2010, and "has been instrumental in ensuring there is robust competition... More »

FTC Pushes Tougher Privacy Rules for Mobile Apps

Agency wants do-not-track feature for phones, tablets

(Newser) - The FTC says it's going to get tougher on mobile apps that invade user's online privacy. New agency guidelines call for a "do-not-track" feature on apps and software for phones and tablets, reports the New York Times . The FTC also fined the social networking app Path $800,... More »

Feds Clear Google of Search Bias

Company will make some voluntary changes to its practices

(Newser) - Google is resolving the FTC's antitrust probe into its business practices today after 19 months, the AP reports. As part of the settlement, Google will voluntarily license patents deemed "essential" to its rivals in the mobile phone industry, including Apple, Research in Motion, and Microsoft. The investigation was... More »

FTC Hangs Up on 'Rachel' Robocalls

Agency gets court to stop calls from fictional worker in 'cardholder services'

(Newser) - Poor Rachel. The FTC is clamping down on five telemarketing firms it says placed illegal robocalls, often claiming to be from a woman named "Rachel" who had an "important message" about high interest rates on credit cards, reports the Chicago Tribune . Yesterday, a federal court ordered a temporary... More »

FTC Tightening Web Privacy Rules for Kids

Biggest revamp in decade requires more consent from parents

(Newser) - A lot has changed online since 1998, when the FTC set up a privacy protection law for children online—and the federal organization believes it's time for an update. New rules expected within weeks would require companies to get parental consent for a wider range of data collection on... More »

POM Thumbs Nose at FTC, Celebrates Judge's Ruling

New ad campaign tests limits of agency: Washington Post

(Newser) - A judge this week criticized juice maker POM for making deceptive claims about the health benefits of its pomegranate juice. But you wouldn't know it from POM's reaction: It took out full-page ads celebrating certain parts of the ruling, asserting that the judge agreed that POM products "... More »

FTC Inquiry May Delay Facebook's Instagram Deal

Second-quarter date sounds 'terrifically optimistic,' anti-trust lawyer says

(Newser) - Facebook and Instagram aren't likely to finish tying the knot by the second quarter as they'd originally intended, because the Federal Trade Commission has launched a competition probe into the deal. Investigators are already collecting information from competitors like Google and Twitter, sources tell the Financial Times . Competition... More »

4.5B Spam Texts Flooded Our Phones Last Year

Consumers fume, FTC files lawsuits

(Newser) - Getting spam on your cell phone? You're not alone: Spam text messages in the US soared 45% to 4.5 billion last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "I don't even get that much junk mail in my Gmail account," says a journalist in Washington, DC.... More »

FTC May Require Facebook Privacy Features Be Opt-In

Settlement also reportedly calls for 20 years of privacy audits

(Newser) - Facebook and the FTC are apparently near a settlement over allegations that the social network misled users when it altered privacy settings in 2009. Under the settlement, Facebook would need “express affirmative consent” to make “material retroactive changes,” insiders tell the Wall Street Journal . Translation from Business ... More »

Reebok to Refund $25M for Bogus Toning Shoes

In order to settle FTC's false advertising complaint

(Newser) - Reebok has agreed to dole out up to $25 million in refunds for people who bought its EasyTone and RunTone shoes, in the mistaken belief that they’d actually help them tone their lower body as advertised. The move settles an FTC complaint that Reebok’s various claims about the... More »

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