FTC to Fine Twitter for Using Consumer Data for Targeted Ads

Twitter revealed that the Federal Trade Commission may hit it with a fine up to $250 million for using consumers’ email addresses and phone numbers — collected for “safety and security” purposes — to target ads, something it said it did “inadvertently” between 2013 and 2019. This is a violation of its 2011 agreement with the FTC, in which Twitter agreed that it would no longer mislead consumers by not disclosing other potential uses. Twitter has already received a draft complaint from the FTC. Continue reading FTC to Fine Twitter for Using Consumer Data for Targeted Ads

EU’s Antitrust Probe Expands to Include the Internet of Things

The European Union’s antitrust unit has broadened its focus of Big Tech companies to include voice assistants such as Siri and Alexa and the growing number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The EU’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager noted the threat of a big company pushing the market until “competition turns into monopoly.” With regard to IoT, she pinpointed voice assistants as the “center of it all,” but included any digital device that records consumer data from Apple Watch to an Internet-connected refrigerator. Continue reading EU’s Antitrust Probe Expands to Include the Internet of Things

Facebook Agrees to Record FTC Fine, Extensive Oversight

In addition to fining Facebook $5 billion for violating a 2011 privacy settlement, the Federal Trade Commission ordered Facebook to create an independent privacy committee on its board and appoint compliance officers and an outside assessor to oversee how data is handled. Further, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives must submit to regular privacy audits. The FTC commissioners approved the measures in a 3-2 vote; the fine is the largest ever levied by the federal government against a tech company. Continue reading Facebook Agrees to Record FTC Fine, Extensive Oversight

SEC Fines Facebook $100 Million Over Misuse of User Data

The Securities and Exchange Commission fined Facebook $100 million to settle a case related to Cambridge Analytica, which in 2014-2015 collected Facebook data — including names, genders, locations, birthdays and “page likes” — of about 30 million Americans to create “personality scores” and ultimately use it for Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign. When Facebook discovered this misuse of data in 2015, it didn’t reveal what had happened for two years, during which time it presented the issue of data misuse as hypothetical. Continue reading SEC Fines Facebook $100 Million Over Misuse of User Data

2017 Data Breach Likely to Cost Equifax Up to $700 Million

In September 2017, hackers broke into credit agency Equifax, compromising almost 150 million Social Security numbers and other personal information. Now, according to sources, under the terms of an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and most state attorneys general, Equifax will pay about $700 million to settle with these agencies as well as a nationwide consumer class-action lawsuit. The exact amount of the settlement depends on the number of consumer claims ultimately filed. Continue reading 2017 Data Breach Likely to Cost Equifax Up to $700 Million

More Marketers Test Targeted Ads on Streaming Platforms

The automobile recommendation site Cars.com used to run its advertisements on TV, aimed at a broad swathe of consumers. But since early 2019, the online company began running its ads on streaming TV platforms such as Amazon Fire TV and Roku to target their ads more precisely to people shopping for cars. Targeted advertising is taking off as a trend because many factors now make it possible to more narrowly aim them to relevant viewers. Some of the data now available includes income, purchase history and web-browsing behavior. Continue reading More Marketers Test Targeted Ads on Streaming Platforms

Under Senate Grilling, Equifax Says It Owns Consumer Data

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee interrogated Equifax interim chief executive Paulino do Rego Barros, but not about the widely reported hack that compromised the personal data of more than 145 million U.S. consumers. The committee wanted to know why Equifax was storing the information to begin with, challenging Equifax’s right to profit from such personal information. The highlight of the meetings thus far has been Barros’ assertion that Equifax, not consumers, own the data collected about them and that people cannot remove themselves from the company files. Continue reading Under Senate Grilling, Equifax Says It Owns Consumer Data

Google Takes a Major Step in TV Ad Delivery With CBS Deal

In pursuit of a piece of the $72 billion U.S. TV advertising market, Google has its first big win in getting TV and video companies to embrace its video ad tech software. The company inked a partnership with CBS to provide the technology to deliver ads for its latest original “Star Trek: Discovery” series, the main attraction for CBS All Access, its new streaming subscription service. The new deal is a hoped-for win-win for both Google and CBS, and a challenge to other ad tech systems. Google also debuted an ad buying software tool last spring. Continue reading Google Takes a Major Step in TV Ad Delivery With CBS Deal

Vizio Settles FTC, New Jersey Lawsuit Against Data Collection

Vizio just agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the New Jersey Attorney General. The lawsuit accused the smart TV manufacturer of using its TVs to track what its owners watched — without their knowledge or consent — and then selling that information to marketing firms. According to the FTC, Vizio began gathering such data in 2014, and even retrofitted smart TVs sold as early as 2010 via a software update, for a total of 11 million TVs. Continue reading Vizio Settles FTC, New Jersey Lawsuit Against Data Collection

Feds, Tech Titans Grapple Over Approaches to Cybersecurity

President Obama’s Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity met with tech industry executives at UC Berkeley to gather suggestions on how to improve cybersecurity. Executives from Google, Facebook, Dropbox and others had their own agenda: to move the issues of consumer data privacy, transparency and sharing of cyber threats towards more openness. Former NSA director General Keith Alexander and Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan are among the members of the commission. Continue reading Feds, Tech Titans Grapple Over Approaches to Cybersecurity

FTC Chairwoman Concerned About Data Security and Privacy

In a speech at CES earlier this week, Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission addressed her concerns about the current state of privacy regulations related to companies that rely on the collection of consumer data. Ramirez urges tech companies to spend more time developing security measures to ensure consumer data remains protected from potential hackers. Ramirez also advises companies to take careful precautions now and be more transparent about their use of data. Continue reading FTC Chairwoman Concerned About Data Security and Privacy

Amazon Plans to Tackle Travel Services with New Booking Site

Amazon is partnering with independent hotels and resorts to offer a prepaid booking service via a new site. The initial rollout will feature select locations within hours of New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. The online retailer is expected to collect a standard 15 percent commission for prepaid bookings. Amazon Travel is likely to mirror existing hotel booking sites with pricing details, room availability and photos, and is expected to launch as early as January 1, 2015. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Tackle Travel Services with New Booking Site