Federal Trade Commission

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FTC to Ad Firms: Get a Real 'Do Not Track' Option Online

Consumers need to be able to opt out of being monitored, watchdog says

(Newser) - When consumers say they don't want their online activity monitored by companies mining data out of their every click they mean it, the Federal Trade Commission warned yesterday. The consumer protection agency said that if technology and advertising companies can't voluntarily create an effective and easy to use... More »

US, EU Launch New Google Privacy Probes

FTC investigates breach of Safari browser settings

(Newser) - Last month, it emerged that Google was skirting privacy settings on Apple's Safari browser; now federal, state, and European Union officials are investigating the since-halted practice, which centers on the installation of tracking files. Google faces a $16,000 fine per violation per day—which could add up to... 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 »

Ashton Kutcher Could Face Federal Probe

'Guest editor' actor invested in companies touted by Details ; who knew?

(Newser) - A guest editorship may land Ashton Kutcher in trouble with the feds. An online-only "Social Issue" of Details touted several tech start-ups and failed to clearly note that guest editor Kutcher is an investor in several of them, discovered Gawker . He may have even run afoul of the law.... More »

Google Faces FTC Antitrust Investigation

Tech giant to receive subpoenas this week

(Newser) - The Federal Trade Commission will send Google subpoenas this week as it begins an antitrust probe into the search king. Officials are investigating whether the firm has taken unfair advantage of its leading position in the tech landscape. It’s the weightiest US investigation the company has thus faced: While... More »

We Need Junk Food Laws, Not Suggestions

We need laws, not suggestions, argues Mark Bittman

(Newser) - The FTC’s new guidelines against marketing junk food to kids don’t go nearly far enough for Mark Bittman. “Instead of announcing, ‘We have guidelines you must follow,” the New York Times writer complains, “the FTC said, in effect, ‘We have voluntary guidelines we... More »

Regulators Want to Put Ronald Out to Pasture

FTC trying to end marketing of junk food to kids

(Newser) - The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a new set of food advertising guidelines that could leave Ronald McDonald hanging out with Joe Camel in the unemployment line. The new guidelines aim to stop companies from marketing products that are high in sugar, fat, or salt to children, forbidding everything from... More »

Google May Be Hit With Antitrust Probe

FTC awaiting Justice Department move

(Newser) - Google could soon be the target of a federal antitrust probe. Officials with the Federal Trade Commission will hold off on a decision until after the Justice Department determines whether or not it will attempt to block Google’s planned acquisition of ITA Software Inc., sources tell Bloomberg . That purchase... More »

White House Plans Internet Privacy Watchdog

New consumer protection laws to be drafted

(Newser) - The Obama administration is stepping up efforts to increase regulation of the Internet and protect users' privacy. New laws to bring protections in line with today's technology are being drafted, along with plans to create a new position to oversee the administration's efforts, sources tell the Wall Street Journa l.... More »

Wrong Numbers Help 'Crammers' Steal Millions

Telecoms turn a blind eye, critics say

(Newser) - A major FTC case is exposing criminals who use the obscurity of telephone billing to steal millions. A practice known as "cramming" takes advantage of misdials—a recent scheme used a number accidentally misprinted in a newspaper for a Toyota recall hotline—to tack on charges to phone bills.... More »

Watchdog: Google Buzz Skirted Wiretap Laws

Group files complaint with FTC, wants more changes

(Newser) - A watchdog group has filed a formal complaint with the FTC over Google’s much-derided launch of Buzz. The Electronic Privacy Information Center wants the FTC to order more sweeping protections than Google itself has subsequently unveiled, and it suggests the search giant violated wiretapping laws. More »

FTC Takes on 'Free' Credit Report Minstrels

Latest showdown between Feds and credit bureau goes viral

(Newser) - A long-running battle between the Federal Trade Commission and credit bureau Experian has blossomed into a viral video showdown of sorts. Experian runs FreeCreditReport.com—beneficiary of the cheeky slacker music video/ads. The FTC thinks—rightly, in the opinion of many—that the company is intentionally diverting consumers from the... More »

Shine a Light on Sneaky TV Product Placement

Do you know when you're being sold something?

(Newser) - You can tell when you’re watching a commercial, right? Not at all, writes NE Marsden , and that’s a huge problem. A new FTC measure seeks to expose the practice of paid consideration—“stealth advertising” is a better phrase—online by requiring bloggers and marketers to disclose remuneration,... More »

Mortgage Scammers Prey on Strapped Homeowners

So-called rescue firms promise to negotiate lower rates, then take money and run

(Newser) - Mortgage brokers who made a mint during the housing boom setting up homeowners in toxic loans are now profiting from a different sort of shady deal. So-called foreclosure rescue firms are proliferating across the US, taking money upfront and promising to negotiate with homeowners’ banks for better interest rates. Instead,... More »

College Complaints Squash Some Bud Light 'Fan Cans'

(Newser) - Anheuser-Busch is dropping its "Fan Cans" promotions from communities around the US where colleges have complained that the effort—which sells cans of Bud Light in school colors—promotes underage drinking and infringes on trademarks. Federal industry regulations require at least 70% of an advertisement's audience to be above... More »

Feds Step Up Antitrust Probe of Google Books Deal

Antitrust investigation focuses on Google's settlement with publishers

(Newser) - Justice Department investigators have intensified their probe into a deal Google made with publishers last year to put millions of books online, the Wall Street Journal reports. Publishers have been formally asked to provide information relating to the deal, which critics charge violates antitrust laws by giving Google an effective... More »

FTC Shuts Down ISP Linked to Child Porn

(Newser) - The FTC has taken the rare step of shutting down an Internet Service Provider that it says was a haven for child pornography and malware run by Eastern European criminals, MSNBC reports. The case gives "a rare glimpse into the seediest parts of the web," writes Bob Sullivan.... More »

Feds Push More Truth in Advertising

(Newser) - Maybe Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley did get those bods from that exercise equipment, but fears that consumers don’t really understand “results may vary” has the Federal Trade Commission looking to tighten its rules, Advertising Age reports. Advertisers would have to show that consumers would see similar results,... More »

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