Tag Archives: FTC

Is Your Set-Top Box Telling Advertisers What You Watch?

by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

Cable TV remote costume

“They’re hiding the ball,” said Dallas Harris, a policy fellow with the advocacy group Public Knowledge who co-wrote the complaints [to the FCC and FTC]. “They say in their privacy policies that they may collect data on you and they may use it for marketing. They know that’s what they’re doing. So there’s a big disconnect between what they say and what’s actually happening.” Read More ›

CFC Applauds FCC Move To Protect Broadband Privacy

“Today’s vote is a significant advance for privacy protection. Consumers should decide whether their online activities and other personal data are shared with third-party strangers,” CFC Executive Director Richard Holober said. “It is essential that any final FCC rule prohibits broadband carriers from charging extra for privacy. Privacy is a right that should not be available only to the wealthy.” Read More ›

CFC, Other Groups Urge FCC To Protect Personal Privacy From Internet, Telecom and Cable Companies

A young mixed race woman types on her laptop computer while she is being watched by a giant eye on the laptop screen.

The letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler rejects the looser regulatory framework advocated by broadband Internet service providers (ISPs). The ISPs’ approach relies in large part on existing Federal Trade Commission rules that have done little to restrain ISPs’ aggressive mining of their subscribers’ data for marketing purposes, the consumer and privacy groups warn. ISPs such as Verizon, Comcast and Cox can exploit the personal data they amass on Web surfers, cable and streaming television viewers and smartphone users – not just marketing to their own customers but also selling the information to third parties. Read More ›

These Are U.S. Consumers’ Top 5 Complaints

by Krystal Steinmetz, Money Talks News

Debt collection gripes made up 29 percent of the complaint calls to the FTC last year, while 16 percent of the complaints were related to identity theft. … “We recognize that identity theft and unlawful debt collection practices continue to cause significant harm to many consumers,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “Steps like the recent upgrade to IdentityTheft.gov and our leadership of a nationwide initiative to combat unlawful debt collection practices are critical to our ongoing work to protect consumers from these harms.” Read More ›

Uber Data Collection Changes Should Be Barred, Privacy Group Urges

by Natasha Singer and Mike Isaac, The New York Times

A leading privacy rights group wants the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit Uber from instituting changes to its privacy policy that the group says will allow the ride-hailing app to collect more detailed data about customers’ whereabouts and use their contact lists to send their friends promotional pitches. … Uber’s reputation is still recovering from public censure last year after allegations surfaced that company employees had mishandled trip data about individual consumers to track their locations, and inappropriately shared an internal tool — colloquially known as “God view” — that showed users taking trips in real time. Read More ›

FTC Calls For Strong Data And Privacy Protection With Connected Devices

by Natasha Singer, The New York Times

smart home

Last year, for instance, an electronics company that marketed what it said were “secure” Internet-connected cameras, allowing parents to remotely monitor their babies, settled a complaint by the F.T.C. that lax security practices had exposed its customers to privacy invasions. A security flaw allowed anyone with the cameras’ Internet addresses to view, and in some cases hear, what was happening in customers’ homes. Read More ›

T-Mobile, AT&T Customers Can Now Request Their $170M In Refunds From Cramming Settlements

by Kate Cox, Consumerist

“Cramming is modern day pickpocketing,” [FCC commissioner Jessica] Rosenworcel said in a statement. “These bogus charges on consumer bills are unfair – and they can add up fast. That’s why these settlements are so important. They give consumers the right to block these fees going forward and get their money back for payments they made in the past.” … Sprint is also facing a lawsuit from a federal agency (the CFPB, this time) over bill-cramming. Read More ›

FTC Approves Final Order In Case About Google Billing For Kids’ In-App Charges Without Parental Consent

by Federal Trade Commission, press release

google and gavel

The settlement requires Google to provide full refunds of unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children and to modify its billing practices to obtain express, informed consent from consumers before billing them for in-app charges. Google is required to contact all consumers who had an in-app charge to inform them of the refund process for unauthorized in-app charges by children within 15 days of the order being finalized. Read More ›

AT&T to Pay $105 Million over Unlawful Billing

by Edward Wyatt, The New York Times

AT&T Mobility, one of the country’s largest mobile phone companies, agreed to pay $80 million to the Federal Trade Commission to provide refunds to customers who were billed “hundreds of millions of dollars” in unauthorized charges for items including ringtones and text messages with love tips and horoscopes. In addition, AT&T will pay $20 million in penalties and fees to 50 states and the District of Columbia and a $5 million penalty to the Federal Communications Commission for the practices, known as mobile cramming. Read More ›

CFC-Sponsored Ban Against Computer Spyware Signed Into Law

SEPT. 18 – Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill sponsored by the Consumer Federation of California to protect consumer privacy by restricting the use of spyware on rented computers. Thanks to Assembly Bill 2667 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica), consumers who rent a computer or similar electronic device in … Read More ›

Wireless carriers are victims of phone cramming too, they just make billions of dollars instead of losing it

by Ashlee Kieler, Consumerist

A new report and hearing on the subject by the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation revealed that third-party billing on wireless phone bills has evolved into a billion-dollar industry for carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. Most wireless carriers were aware of the growing cramming problem at least six years ago, but continued to retain lax oversight and self-regulation policies leaving ample opportunity for scammers to strike. Just this week, the FTC announced a series of recommendations that could slow, or even cease, the practices of cramming and direct carrier billing. Read More ›

Apple To Refund At Least $32.5 Million For In-App Purchases By Kids

by Chris Morran, Consumerist

“This settlement is a victory for consumers harmed by Apple’s unfair billing, and a signal to the business community: whether you’re doing business in the mobile arena or the mall down the street, fundamental consumer protections apply,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “You cannot charge consumers for purchases they did not authorize.” Read More ›