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Steptoe Cyberblog

FTC’s Online Privacy Campaign Goes into High Gear

Posted in Privacy Regulation, Security Programs & Policies

The Federal Trade Commission is really on a roll these days. In the last few weeks alone it has: reached settlements with two companies, Compete, Inc. and Epic Marketplace, Inc., over the FTC’s charges that the two companies deceived consumers by misrepresenting their online data collection practices; released a blistering report criticizing the developers of mobile apps for children over their privacy practices and launched numerous investigations into whether certain app makers are violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA); issued its amended rule implementing COPPA, which broadens the Act’s coverage and toughens its requirements regarding the collection and use of children’s personal information; and sent orders to nine data brokerage firms requiring them to provide information about how they collect and use data about consumers. Every indication is that the Commission will continue to increase its efforts to police the privacy practices of websites, online advertisers, and data collectors in 2013. So while the European Union prides itself as the world’s leader in privacy protection and criticizes the US for things like the Patriot Act and electronic surveillance laws, the FTC is putting the US in the vanguard of privacy enforcement.