Amazon vs FTC: In-App Purchases Lawsuit

Amazon’s in for a good fight with the FTC over in-app purchases

By on July 11, 2014 at 8:45 PM.

Amazon’s in for a good fight with the FTC over in-app purchases

Apple recently acknowledged its in-app purchases issues that allowed children to purchase content without requiring verification and settled the FTC case agreeing to refund some $32 million in fraudulent in-app charges. But Amazon doesn’t want to go down without a fight, GigaOm reports, as the same Commission is investigating its own in-app purchase problems related to the Amazon Appstore that’s available on Android devices. More →

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T-Mobile Bogus Charges

FTC sues T-Mobile for allegedly hitting customers with hundreds of millions in bogus charges

By on July 1, 2014 at 2:45 PM.

FTC sues T-Mobile for allegedly hitting customers with hundreds of millions in bogus charges

In what might be the “Uncarrier’s” worst blunder in years, T-Mobile is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission after it was discovered that the provider has allegedly been placing bogus charges on customers’ phone bills for “premium” SMS texting subscriptions, which in many cases were never authorized by the subscriber. It is estimated that T-Mobile made hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of this unsavory practice. More →

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Patent Troll vs. Federal Government

One patent troll refuses to quit, sues federal government

By on January 15, 2014 at 3:15 PM.

One patent troll refuses to quit, sues federal government

Despite recent legislation designed to stop them in their tracks, patent trolls are still fighting for relevancy in the United States. Ars Technica reports that one of the most infamous patent trolls in the country, MPHJ Technology Investments, is suing the federal government for infringing on its “constitutional right” to send thousands of disruptive, deceptive letters to small businesses, threatening them with legal action if they refuse to “pay a licensing fee of $1,000 or more per worker.” More →

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Apple FTC In-App Purchases Settlement

Apple has agreed to settle with FTC over in-app purchase lawsuit

By on January 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM.

Apple has agreed to settle with FTC over in-app purchase lawsuit

Apple has been negotiating an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission for months in regards to in-app purchases, but a letter from Tim Cook sent to Apple employees on Wednesday indicates that the company has decided to settle. The fight concerned how easy it is for children to make in-app purchases without the oversight of their parents. More →

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FTC Data Brokerage

FTC demands answers from data brokers

By on December 19, 2012 at 1:05 PM.

FTC demands answers from data brokers

The United States Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday ordered nine data brokerage firms to provide the agency with information on how they collect and use consumer data. The FTC notes that these companies “collect personal information about consumers from a variety of public and non-public sources and resell the information to other companies,” and is now seeking answers. It wants to know how these companies use, maintain and disseminate the information they gather about consumers, and to the extent of which consumers are allowed to access and correct their information or opt out of having their personal information sold. More →

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Google to pony up $22.5 million in Safari settlement

By on July 10, 2012 at 7:45 AM.

Google to pony up $22.5 million in Safari settlement

Google Safari Settlement $22.5 Million

Google is about to forfeit some of its allowance after getting caught with its hands in Safari’s cookie jar. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google and the Federal Trade Commission are close to finalizing a settlement where Google will pay $22.5 million for bypassing the security settings on Apple’s Safari browser to plant unwanted third-party tracking cookies. More →

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Google to be fined millions by U.S. over Safari breach

By on May 4, 2012 at 3:45 PM.

Google to be fined millions by U.S. over Safari breach

Google to be fined by US over Safari breach

The United States Federal Trade Commission will fine Google for its breach of Apple’s Safari web browser security, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The Internet giant is currently negotiating with the Commission over an acceptable fine, which could amount to tens of millions of dollars. The fine would be the first time the FTC has ever punished a company for violating Internet privacy safeguards. Google in February was found to be bypassing the privacy settings of millions of unknowing Safari users by using a special code to install cookies on a user’s computer, even when such actions were supposed to be blocked by the browser. More →

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Samsung, LG and others fined $40 million in Korean price-fixing scam

By on March 15, 2012 at 1:30 PM.

Samsung, LG and others fined $40 million in Korean price-fixing scam

Korean regulators on Thursday fined domestic mobile phone manufacturers and carriers 45.3 billion won (roughly $40.2 million) for price-fixing and consumer fraud. According to the Fair Trade Commission, the companies secretly agreed to inflate the prices of cell phones while advertising offers with considerable incentives. The companies’ actions apparently tricked consumers into thinking they were buying a new phone for a bargain. “Companies took advantage of the complicated price setting practice in the mobile telecommunications sector to trick consumers,” an FTC official said. The Korea Times reported that Samsung, LG, Pantech, SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus have all been find for their role in the scheme. In addition to the fine, the companies have been ordered to release information concerning the incentives they offered consumers, and they have been banned from offering such incentives in the future. SK Telecom was given the largest fine of 20.2 billion won, followed by Samsung with 14.2 billion won and KT at 5.1 billion won. More →

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Apple subpoenaed by FTC in Google antitrust probe

By on March 13, 2012 at 3:25 PM.

Apple subpoenaed by FTC in Google antitrust probe

Apple has been subpoenaed by the United Stated Federal Trade Commission as part of an antitrust investigation of Google, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. The FTC is reportedly interested in an agreement with Apple that made Google the default search engine on Apple’s iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. “As mobile search gets more widespread, the default setting becomes more significant,” antitrust lawyer Allen Grunes told Bloomberg. The FTC has been looking into Google’s business practices — specifically, its search business — for almost a year.

More →

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‘Anonymous’ hacks two more U.S. government websites

By on February 17, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

‘Anonymous’ hacks two more U.S. government websites

Members from the notorious hacktivist collective “Anonymous Operations” have reportedly claimed responsibility for hacking two more government websites following the takedown of the Central Intelligence Agency’s website last week. The Associated Press on Friday reported that Anonymous had breached the United States Federal Trade Commission’s consumer protection business center website as well as a National Consumer Protection Week website. Both sites were temporarily replaced by a “violent German-language video” focused on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA, which has been signed by a number of countries including the U.S. and Canada, aims to put forth international legal guidelines for fighting piracy. Neither affected agency has confirmed the attacks, but both the FTC business center website and the National Consumer Protection Week website were offline at the time of this writing. More →

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Public interest group sues Google to block new privacy policy

By on February 9, 2012 at 8:45 PM.

Public interest group sues Google to block new privacy policy

A public interest group asked a federal judge on Wednesday to block Google from changing its privacy policy, reports Reuters. The lawsuit comes from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which claims the search giant is in violation of a consent agreement made with U.S. regulator last March. The group is asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Google in the hopes that the Federal Trade Commission will enforce the consent agreement. “The Court must act now to prevent irreparable injury to EPIC and the public,” the group said in its court filing. Read on for more. More →

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Proposed congressional bill targets Carrier IQ and other mobile tracking software

By on January 30, 2012 at 4:15 PM.

Proposed congressional bill targets Carrier IQ and other mobile tracking software

Democratic Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts released a draft of his cell phone privacy bill on Monday. The Mobile Device Privacy Act is designed to protect consumers from tracking software such as Carrier IQ, which caused an uproar late last year when it was discovered to be secretly monitoring 150 million smartphone users. The bill would require companies to disclose the use of such tracking software and clarify exactly what information the software collects. Customers would have to consent to any data collected or transmitted, and third parties would have to file applications with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the data is being transmitted securely. “Consumers have the right to know and to say ‘no’ to the presence of software on their mobile devices that can collect and transmit their personal and sensitive information,” said Markey when speaking to The Hill. Markey serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the co-chairman of the Congressional Privacy Caucus. More →

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EU to decide whether or not it will file formal complaint against Google by end of March

By on January 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM.

EU to decide whether or not it will file formal complaint against Google by end of March

Officials in the European Union will decide by the end of March whether or not to formally investigate Google. An informal investigation into Google’s practices has been ongoing since November 2010“I will receive comments from the case team towards the end of the first quarter,” European Union competition commissioner Joaguin Alumnia told Reuters. “I do not expect anything sooner. Let us see.” 10 different firms have filed anti-competition complaints against Google with the European Commission. The United States Federal Trade Commission announced in June that it was also reviewing Google’s business practices related to search and online advertising. Watchdog groups such as Fairsearch.org have accused Google of engaging “in anti-competitive behavior… that harms consumers by restricting the ability of other companies to compete to put the best products and services in front of Internet users, who should be allowed to pick winners and losers online not Google.” Google, however, has said that its business practices will stand up to ongoing investigations. “These are the principles that guide us, and we know they’ll stand up to scrutiny,” Google Fellow Amit Singhal said in June. More →

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