Facebook Planning to Face FTC Fine in Excess of $3 Billion

In its first quarter earnings report yesterday, Facebook revealed that it is putting aside $3 billion (about 6 percent of its cash and marketable securities) in anticipation of an upcoming fine from the Federal Trade Commission regarding privacy violations. The penalty, which could become the highest of its kind against a tech company by U.S. regulators and the biggest privacy-related fine in the FTC’s history, is expected to run from $3 billion to $5 billion. The social media giant posted more than $15 billion in revenue, a 26 percent increase over the year-earlier period. Continue reading Facebook Planning to Face FTC Fine in Excess of $3 Billion

Ireland Is Investigating Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn and Twitter

Ireland, where many U.S. tech firms have European headquarters, is investigating Facebook in seven separate cases. Ireland’s data protection commissioner Helen Dixon reported that these probes are among 16 cases looking into Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Instagram. She added that the Irish and EU investigations are “centered on the activities of very big Internet companies with tens and hundreds of millions of users,” which would be “a very large factor when looking at the scale of a fine.” Continue reading Ireland Is Investigating Facebook, Apple, LinkedIn and Twitter

California Data Privacy Measure Is Likely to Impact the Nation

It’s not just Europe that’s battening down the privacy hatches with the recently activated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). California voters in November will likely be able to weigh in on the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, an initiative that would provide the state one of the broadest online privacy laws in the country. One of this initiative’s most significant backers is San Francisco real estate mogul Alastair Mactaggart, who put more than $2 million of his own money into getting it on the ballot. Continue reading California Data Privacy Measure Is Likely to Impact the Nation

Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, Facebook plans to debut a new privacy center that will be a hub for all its privacy settings. The company also published its “privacy principles” for the first time, with details of how it handles user information. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says the result will be a “good foundation” for meeting GDPR’s requirements. The GDPR limits how technology companies collect, store and utilize users’ personal information. Continue reading Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

FCC Plans to Fine AT&T $100 Million for Slowing Data Speeds

The Federal Communications Commission has accused AT&T Mobility of misleading its wireless customers regarding unlimited data plans by slowing their service without notification. As a result, the FCC announced that it plans to fine AT&T $100 million. According to the agency, AT&T delivered slower service than advertised after its customers had used a certain amount of data. The slow-down impacted the ability to stream video, use mapping services and more. The move raises questions about future actions now that the FCC is treating Internet services more like utilities. Continue reading FCC Plans to Fine AT&T $100 Million for Slowing Data Speeds

Europe Writes Internet Rules to Take Greater Role on the Web

The European Union drafted a new data-privacy policy that it hopes will be adopted around the world. The policy would require companies to include the “right to be forgotten” option so that people could ask for their links to be removed and to ask users for explicit consent to use their personal data. Europe is looking to have more influence on the Web, which is currently dominated by U.S. companies. Representatives from the EU are lobbying other countries to institute the policy. Continue reading Europe Writes Internet Rules to Take Greater Role on the Web

Yelp and TinyCo Face Fines After Violating Children’s Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that game maker TinyCo agreed to pay $300,000 to settle charges that it violated children’s privacy rules by improperly collecting information. The company was accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In a separate case, Yelp agreed to pay a $450,000 penalty for doing the same through its consumer review app. Both companies were charged with collecting personal info from children under 13 without parental consent. Continue reading Yelp and TinyCo Face Fines After Violating Children’s Privacy

California Law Protects the Right to Post Bad Reviews on Yelp

California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a new measure that bans businesses from preventing their customers from leaving negative reviews, especially online. Yelp and other sites have pushed anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) laws around the country to stop defamation lawsuits against their users who post negative reviews. California businesses can no longer force customers to waive their right to comment on their service, or they can face fines of up to $10,000. Continue reading California Law Protects the Right to Post Bad Reviews on Yelp

FCC Chair Reminds ISPs to Adhere to the Transparency Rule

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler issued a statement to remind Internet Service Providers that they must remain clear about anything that impacts a consumer’s broadband experience. Any ISP that defies the transparency order is subject to censure and fines from the FCC. Wheeler did not direct the message at any specific provider, but claimed that the FCC has recently received numerous complaints. The agency did not make any comments about ongoing investigations. Continue reading FCC Chair Reminds ISPs to Adhere to the Transparency Rule

Survey Finds Consumers Skeptical of Social Media Marketing

Consumers are bombarded with marketing schemes on their social media sites, and they are growing wary of fake reviews and Facebook likes. A new survey found that marketers are more relaxed about online marketing techniques than consumers are. About 67 percent of consumers believe that hiding negative search results of a business or product is unethical and 71 percent of consumers think it is misleading to create fake accounts to leave positive reviews for businesses. Continue reading Survey Finds Consumers Skeptical of Social Media Marketing

Writers Guild Cautions Against Stiff Copyright Enforcement

A statement from the Writers Guild of America West raises the group’s concerns regarding copyright infringement fees and agreements, digital sales and other related issues. The letter particularly references the “notice and takedown” system of copyrighted material shared on the Web, noting that the system’s intentions are good, but may also cause potential harm. The statement was written in response to a recent green paper on copyright policy. Continue reading Writers Guild Cautions Against Stiff Copyright Enforcement