Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Homepage: http://www.ftc.gov/
May 2004: "The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to ensure that the nation's markets are vigorous, efficient and free of restrictions that harm consumers. Experience demonstrates that competition among firms yields products at the lowest prices, spurs innovation and strengthens the economy. Markets also work best when consumers can make informed choices based on accurate information.
To ensure the smooth operation of our free market system, the FTC enforces federal consumer protection laws that prevent fraud, deception and unfair business practices. The Commission also enforces federal antitrust laws that prohibit anticompetitive mergers and other business practices that restrict competition and harm consumers. Whether combating telemarketing fraud, Internet scams or price-fixing schemes, the FTC's primary mission is to protect consumers."http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/general/guidetoftc.htm
February 2002: "The Federal Trade Commission enforces a variety of federal antitrust and consumer protection laws. The Commission seeks to ensure that the nation's markets function competitively, and are vigorous, efficient, and free of undue restrictions. The Commission also works to enhance the smooth operation of the marketplace by eliminating acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive. In general, the Commission's efforts are directed toward stopping actions that threaten consumers' opportunities to exercise informed choice. Finally, the Commission undertakes economic analysis to support its law enforcement efforts and to contribute to the policy deliberations of the Congress, the Executive Branch, other independent agencies, and state and local governments when requested. In addition to carrying out its statutory enforcement responsibilities, the Commission advances the policies underlying Congressional mandates through cost-effective non-enforcement activities, such as consum
October 2016: 'The Federal Trade Commission has a “flexible” rule for industry, which requires marketers to have accurate and reliable science to back up their claims. But there is no formal definition for “organic” outside of food, nor is there any sort of certification. The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees cosmetic products, faces a similar situation: no definition for organic.'http://qz.com/816266/if-your-shampoo-says-organic-on-the-label-it-probably-doesnt-mean-anything/
May 2014: 'The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday called on Congress to protect consumers against the unchecked collection and sharing of their digital data — from websites visited to their marital status — by providing people with tools to view, suppress and fix their information. The agency also said the little-known companies, called data brokers, that analyze and sell huge amounts of the consumer information for marketing purposes, needed to be reined in and more transparent to the public. Companies that trade in consumer data, the agency said in a 110-page report about the industry, suffered from “a fundamental lack of transparency.” “You may not know them, but data brokers know you,” Edith Ramirez, chairwoman of the F.T.C., said in a conference call. It is an industry, she said, that “operates largely in the dark,” yet it has remarkably detailed information that includes online and store purchases, political and religious affiliations, personal income, and socioeconomic status. One data broker in the report, for example, had 3,000 data categories for nearly every American consumer. Data brokers analyze information collected about consumers to make automated assumptions about them, the report said. While the conclusions may determine the products and services offered to a person, the report said, the conclusions can be mistaken. Consumers are placed in data-driven social and demographic groups for marketing purposes with labels like “financially challenged,” “diabetes interest” and “smoker in household,” the report said. The report explains how these software-generated groupings could affect a person. It said a person assumed to be a “biker enthusiast” might get special offers from the local motorcycle shop. But that same person might also have to pay higher fees for life insurance because insurers infer that person engages in risky behavior.'http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/technology/ftc-urges-legislation-to-shed-more-light-on-data-collection.html
February 2014: "Speaking of long distance fees: the number it’s dialing from is, generally, one from outside of the US — but one that has the same country code (+1, which we share with Canada and almost all of the Caribbean nations, from the Bahamas to Jamaica), and thus looks a whole lot like a US number. On US premium numbers, the FTC requires the caller to explicitly agree to charges. On international numbers, the FTC has no jurisdiction."http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/02/missed-call-scam/
December 2013: 'David M. Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants, said part of the problem is that most brides are first-time shoppers. They are less informed about what a “fair” price is, or how long it should take to discover prices. (If you just spent two hours going through different bouquet and centerpiece pricing options at one florist, you might assume that it will take the same amount of time at other vendors and decide it’s too much of a hassle to shop around.) Because this event is (ideally) once in a lifetime, that also means that vendors can appeal to consumers’ sentimentality, urging them not to cheap out on the “most important” day of their lives. Because of similar concerns about guilt-tripping salespeople, the Federal Trade Commission requires funeral homes to provide its bereaved customers with an itemized price list.'http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/magazine/the-wedding-fix-is-in.html
September 2013: "It's an unpleasant surprise to learn at check-in that you're required to pay a $20-$30 daily surcharge to cover the cost of amenities (newspaper delivery; fitness center access) that you may not use. Since these fees don't figure into the advertised room rate, they make it hard for a price-sensitive traveler to find the best lodging option. And it's not just travelers who are annoyed; the Federal Trade Commission warned 22 hotel operators that not clearly disclosing resort fees could be violating FTC laws."http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/24/travel/annoying-travel-fees/index.html
January 2013: "On Thursday, the FTC finally made an announcement regarding its investigation of Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The investigation is now closed. The Commission will not be pursing antitrust litigation, and Google escaped without fines, and will make some minor voluntary changes regarding its search business. Many think Google got off to light, while others think even these changes were more than Google should have to make. Either way, for the time being, Google has the FTC off its back (though it still has the European Commission to worry about)."http://www.webpronews.com/ftc-google-antitrust-investigation-officially-closed-2013-01
December 2012: "The latest salvo comes from the Federal Trade Commission, which said on Tuesday that it had opened an inquiry into the practices of nine companies that collect and resell or analyze consumer data."http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/technology/ftc-opens-an-inquiry-into-data-brokers.html
August 2012: "The Federal Trade Commission has issued guidelines stating that all online endorsements need to make clear when there is a financial relationship, but enforcement has been minimal and there has been a lot of confusion in the blogosphere over how this affects traditional book reviews."http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/book-reviewers-for-hire-meet-a-demand-for-online-raves.html
March 2012: "This struck me as the height of audacity, and when I shared my feelings with the company, I was informed that the agreements had outlived their usefulness. What neither its vice president of marketing, Shane Stadler, nor its founder and chief executive, Jeffrey Segal, told me, however, was that the company had retired the agreements in the wake of a lawsuit related to them and a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission."http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/your-money/why-the-web-lacks-authoritative-reviews-of-doctors.html
January 2012: 'Fake reviews are drawing the attention of regulators. They have cracked down on a few firms for deceitful hyping and suspect these are far from isolated instances. “Advertising disguised as editorial is an old problem, but it’s now presenting itself in different ways,” said Mary K. Engle, the Federal Trade Commission’s associate director for advertising practices. “We’re very concerned.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/technology/for-2-a-star-a-retailer-gets-5-star-reviews.html
January 2012: "In the second-largest penalty ever levied on a debt collector, the F.T.C. said that Asset Acceptance, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, had agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that the company deceived consumers when trying to collect old debts."http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/31/business/ftc-fines-a-collector-of-debt-2-5-million.html
December 2010: 'Saying that online companies have failed to protect the privacy of Internet users, the Federal Trade Commission recommended a broad framework for commercial use of Web consumer data, including a simple and universal “do not track” mechanism that would essentially give consumers the type of control they gained over marketers with the national “do not call” registry.'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/02/business/media/02privacy.html
October 2010: "The federal government has ended an inquiry into a privacy breach involving Google's Street View service, satisfied with the company's pledge to stop gathering e-mail, passwords and other information from residential WiFi networks as it rolls through neighborhoods."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/27/AR2010102707827.html
June 2010: '“They take advantage of vulnerable people,” she said. “When you’re desperate and you’re trying to get out of debt, they take advantage of you.” Debt settlement has swollen to some 2,000 firms, from a niche of perhaps a dozen companies a decade ago, according to trade associations and the Federal Trade Commission, which is completing new rules aimed at curbing abuses within the industry.'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/19/business/economy/19debt.html
May 2010: "The effort to give consumers access to their reports and scores has a long history. In 1970, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, was passed to ensure a certain level of fairness, accuracy and privacy of the personal information collected by credit-reporting agencies. It's probably hard to believe now, but there was a time when consumers didn't have a right to access the information collected on them and used by lenders, insurers and even employers. Once the files were open, if you wanted to routinely see your credit reports, you had to pay for them."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/26/AR2010052602252.html
May 2010: "The inquiry is one of several by the federal government involving Apple. The Federal Trade Commission is moving ahead with a separate investigation of Apple’s rules for developers who create applications for the iPhone operating system, according to a person familiar with that discussion."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/technology/26apple.html
May 2010: 'Google has managed to squeak by most regulatory reviews. On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission approved Google’s $750 million acquisition of AdMob, a mobile advertising start-up. Staff members had initially planned to oppose the purchase, even saying in a statement that the deal “raised serious antitrust issues.” But the agency ultimately endorsed the deal, assuming that Apple’s entry in the market would facilitate competition.'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/technology/23goog.html
April 2010: 'Seven weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission and Ticketmaster settled civil charges in one of those investigations. The FTC concluded that Ticketmaster had flashed a "no tickets found" message to customers searching for 2009 Bruce Springsteen concerts -- including the May appearance at Verizon Center in the District -- and "many other" events in 2008 and 2009 and then directed customers to Ticketmaster's own resale Web site without alerting buyers that they could be paying quadruple the face price of tickets. The FTC called the practice "deceptive bait-and-switch."'http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/08/AR2010040805594.html
April 2010: 'The Federal Trade Commission argued in a 2008 antitrust complaint that the acquisitions, which cost $230 million, had allowed Talx to “raise prices unilaterally” and “decrease the quality of services.” Talx modified some contracts to settle the case, but admitted no legal violations.'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/us/04talx.html
April 2010: 'Last year, the commission began an antitrust investigation into ties between Google and Apple. At the time they shared two directors: Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief, and Arthur D. Levinson, the former chief executive of Genentech. Antitrust law generally prohibits companies with rival businesses from having “interlocking directorates.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/02/technology/02google.html
March 2010: "The Federal Trade Commission released guidelines last year about online product recommendations, saying that bloggers should disclose any connections to companies they write about. Walansky's giveaway included no such disclaimer. She said in an interview that such notice was not necessary because the free gift card made the connection to Domino's obvious."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/28/AR2010032802905.html
March 2010: "The San Francisco brothers hired overseas telemarketers to offer directory assistance and other services to small businesses and ordinary Americans, according to a major case to be unveiled this week by the Federal Trade Commission. But their real goal was to sneak small, unauthorized fees onto thousands of monthly bills and hope the charges would go unnoticed, court documents state."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/28/AR2010022803750.html
October 2009: "The F.T.C. said that beginning on Dec. 1, bloggers who review products must disclose any connection with advertisers, including, in most cases, the receipt of free products and whether or not they were paid in any way by advertisers, as occurs frequently. The new rules also take aim at celebrities, who will now need to disclose any ties to companies, should they promote products on a talk show or on Twitter. A second major change, which was not aimed specifically at bloggers or social media, was to eliminate the ability of advertisers to gush about results that differ from what is typical — for instance, from a weight loss supplement."http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/business/media/06adco.html
January 1111: 'Now the U.S. government is considering requiring people who write about products or services on the Internet to inform readers if they received compensation.The Federal Trade Commission expects to vote on new marketing rules this summer, which would be the first revision to its endorsement guidelines since 1980. “When you’re being paid to promote a product, you usually have to disclose the relationship between you and the advertiser,” says Richard Cleland, an FTC assistant director.'http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/can-you-believe-what-you-read-on-the-web.html
July 2009: "Marketing companies are keen to get their products into the hands of so-called influencers who have loyal online followings because the opinions of such consumers help products stand out amid the clutter, particularly in social media....the Federal Trade Commission is taking a hard look at such practices and may soon require online media to comply with disclosure rules under its truth-in-advertising guidelines."http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/technology/internet/13blog.html
January 0001: '“I have long argued that Congress or the Federal Trade Commission should prohibit companies from using SSNs as a means to verify identity,” Daniel J. Solove, professor of law at George Washington University Law School, wrote in an e-mail. “Merely protecting against their disclosure is insufficient since Acquisti and Gross demonstrate that they can readily be predicted.”'http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/07/predictingssn/
June 2009: "Since May 2000, the FTC has taken legal action against only three companies for violating the guidelines. All three complaints were announced June 9, the day of a congressional hearing about environmental marketing."http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/environment/2009-06-21-green_N.htm
June 2009: 'Federal authorities are also more closely scrutinizing foreclosure-rescue services. The Federal Trade Commission filed a civil contempt action this month against the Financial Group Inc., an Orange, Calif., company doing business as Tax Relief ASAP. The F.T.C. said it had charged homeowners up to $5,500, and “obtained few, if any, loan modifications for customers.”'http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/realestate/21mort.html
June 2009: "The US Federal Trade Commission for the first time has sued and immediately shut down an internet service provider it accused of being a haven for a wide range of criminal activity, including child pornography and the electronic theft of personal banking data."http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cf6ff4a6-5167-11de-84c3-00144feabdc0.html
May 2009: "A federal court in Chicago issued a restraining order on Friday against three companies accused of aggressively making automated calls to sell car warranties across the country, the Federal Trade Commission announced."http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/16/business/16robo.html
November 2008: '[Google writes] "The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also given unambiguous guidance on this subject in the recent PDF at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2008/03/P064101tech.pdf where they said “Consumers who endorse and recommend products on their blogs or other sites for consideration should do so within the boundaries set forth in the FTC Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising and the FTC’s guidance on word of mouth marketing,” as well as “To date, in response to this concern, the FTC has advised that search engines need to disclose clearly and conspicuously if the ranking or other presentation of search results is a function of paid placement, and, similarly, that consumers who are paid to engage in word-of-mouth marketing must disclose that fact to recipients of their messages.”'http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2008/11/20/new-paid-links-service-sparks-more-debate
March 2008: "While adults in their spending years--30s and 40s--are typically the targets, a growing number of victims tracked by the Federal Trade Commission are under the age of 18--some 5% of the total. That's up from 3% just a few years ago. More than half are under the age of 6."http://www.forbes.com//2008/03/06/credit-card-fraud-biz-wall-cx_lm_0306idfraud08_protect.html
June 2008: "The lawsuit adds to the considerable legal risks facing Bank of America as it prepares to absorb Countrywide in a takeover announced in January. Countrywide and its executives have been named as defendants in shareholder lawsuits, and the company’s practices are the subject of investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the F.B.I. and the Federal Trade Commission, which oversees loan servicing companies."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/business/25mortgage.html
May 2008: "A congressional request did prompt the Federal Trade Commission to order food and beverage companies to provide details on their activities and expenditures on food marketing to youth. A report should be public by fall. But whatever the commission recommends will not go further than self-regulation. Three decades after the FTC proposed a ban on TV ads for sugary, child-targeted foods that might cause dental problems, it remains severely restricted in any additional restraints it is allowed to impose."http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/09/AR2008050900527.html
December 2007: "On October 6, 1999, the charitable arm of the Anheuser-Busch Companies gave $200,000, the first of five payments over five years totaling $1 million, according to records filed by the company’s foundation. Less than a month earlier, the company, the country’s leading beer maker, had scored a major victory when the Clinton administration’s Federal Trade Commission dropped a bid to regulate beer, wine and liquor advertising that critics said was aimed at under-age drinkers."http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/us/politics/20clinton.html
February 2008: 'Commercial calls are already limited by the Federal Trade Commission's "do not call list," subscribed to by millions. But political calls have been specifically exempted from that list.'http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0227/p02s01-uspo.html
January 2008: 'Worse, Professor Cohen said, it amounts to an antitrust conspiracy in which plaintiffs’ lawyers have ganged up “to coerce claimants into joining the settlement even if they don’t want to do so by depriving them of the ability to be represented by the best qualified lawyers,” as he put it in an informal complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on Jan. 9.'http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/us/22bar.html
January 2008: "Mr. Cuomo’s investigation is the first government challenge to Intel’s sales practices in the United States, and comes less than three months after the head of the Federal Trade Commission rejected requests from lawmakers and some commission members to open a formal investigation."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/11/technology/11chip.html
January 2008: "Corporations and shoppers in the United States spent more than $54 million last year on carbon offset credits toward tree planting, wind farms, solar plants and other projects to balance the emissions created by, say, using a laptop computer or flying on a jet. But where exactly is that money going? The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, raised the question Tuesday in its first hearing in a series on green marketing..."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/09/business/09offsets.html
July 2007: Foreclosure rescue deals vary in execution but as Mr. Morris’s case shows, they capitalize on two things: borrower desperation and mind-bogglingly complex mortgage loan documents. A study published last month by the Federal Trade Commission found that the documents were so confusing that 9 of 10 borrowers could not identify upfront fees on mortgage loans and half could not specify the amount they were borrowing. Sam Finkelstein, an advocate for affordable housing, has encountered several variations of foreclosure rescue schemes. One program offered by RYM Technology Holdings, which is based in Birmingham, Mich., lured at least 20 struggling local homeowners and as many as 40 other people in Chicago, said Mr. Finkelstein, who is a housing organizer at the National Training and Information Center, a nonprofit group based in Chicago that supports housing groups around the country.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/03/business/03home.html
June 2007: The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Reserve were targeted in a House hearing to examine how errors occur on credit reports and how to assist consumers in correcting them. Congress passed legislation in 2003 that protected consumers against credit errors, but neither has been fully implemented by the six regulatory agencies that cooperate to translate laws into industry standards.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/19/AR2007061902220.html
May 2007: Many of these issues have already been outlined by the FTC. If you're not already familiar with it, see its Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road. Were you aware, for example, that 'third parties -- such as advertising agencies or website designers and catalog marketers -- also may be liable for making or disseminating deceptive representations if they participate in the preparation or distribution of the advertising, or know about the deceptive claims'?http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3625902
March 2007: A California women's accessories company, backed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Bush administration, is challenging Dr. Miles's holding that agreements between companies and retailers that goods will not be sold below a certain price constitute a per se-- that is, automatic -- violation of antitrust laws.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/26/AR2007032601582.html
September 2006: In early November, the Federal Trade Commission will hold hearings looking into the issues raised by new online advertising strategies, asking, among other questions, whether they mislead consumers.http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/09/24/is_this_the_future_of_advertising/
July 2006: In April, the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the federal law that governs debt collection practices, reported that it received 66,627 complaints against third-party debt collectors last year — more than against any other industry, and nearly six times the number in 1999.http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/05/nyregion/05credit.html
April 2006: The agreements follow two federal appeals court rulings last year that rejected Federal Trade Commission actions that since the late 1990s had prevented brand-name companies from paying their rivals to drop patent challenges.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/24/AR2006042401508.html
May 2006: In a measure passed overwhelmingly by the House this week, lawmakers proposed penalties for price gouging -- to $150 million for wholesalers, $2 million for retailers and two years in jail for either -- and ordered the Federal Trade Commission to put a stop to it. The House measure also called for the FTC to define price gouging.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/05/AR2006050501626.html
Role Name Type Last Updated Opponent (past or present) American Student List (ASL) Organization Apr 18, 2010 Opponent (past or present) Asset Acceptance Organization Jan 31, 2012 Owner of (partial or full, past or present) Bureau of Consumer Protection (BCP) Organization May 18, 2006 Opponent (past or present) DSW Organization Jan 25, 2006 Opponent (past or present) Domain Registry of America (DROA) Organization Oct 24, 2007 Opponent (past or present) Ecommerce Network.com Organization Jan 25, 2006 Opponent (past or present) Fairbanks Capital Corp Organization Aug 7, 2006 Cooperation (past or present) Identity Theft Assistance Center (ITAC) Organization Nov 18, 2008 Opponent (past or present) MaxTheater Organization Jan 25, 2006 Opponent (past or present) Medical Justice Corporation Organization Mar 13, 2012 Opponent (past or present) Pricewert Organization Jun 17, 2009 Opponent (past or present) Success Express Organization Jan 25, 2006 Opponent (past or present) Trustsoft Organization Jan 25, 2006 Owned by (partial or full, past or present) US Federal Government - Independent Agencies Organization May 4, 2005 Opponent (past or present) Upsher-Smith Laboratories Organization May 25, 2006 Opponent (past or present) Verity International Organization Feb 29, 2008 Opponent (past or present) Wealth Systems Organization Jan 25, 2006 Opponent (past or present) West Asset Management Organization Jan 31, 2012 Opponent (past or present) Wiseguy Tickets Organization Apr 10, 2010 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Howard Beales Person Oct 20, 2004 Opponent (past or present) A. Glenn Braswell Person Jan 25, 2006 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Richard L. Cleland Esq. Person Aug 31, 2004 Organization Executive (past or present) Senator Ted Cruz Esq. Person Oct 12, 2013 Organization Executive (past or present) Senator Elizabeth Dole Esq., MA Person Feb 24, 2006 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) David Giacalone Esq. Person Mar 15, 2004 Advised by (past or present) Harvey J. Goldschmid Esq. Person Aug 31, 2006 Organization Executive (past or present) Lois C. Greisman Esq. Person Mar 1, 2010 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) Jon Leibowitz Esq. Person Jan 5, 2013 Opponent (past or present) Roy Lin Person Mar 1, 2010 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Deborah Platt Majoras Person May 7, 2006 Organization Executive (past or present) Mr. David Medine Person Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Prof. Timothy J. Muris Esq. Person Organization Executive (past or present) Lydia Parnes Person Sep 19, 2005 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Organization Executive (past or present) Michael Pertschuk Person Oct 23, 2011 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Robert Pitofsky Person Advised by (past or present) Dr. Lawrence "Larry" A. Ponemon Person Jan 3, 2006 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Judge Richard A. Posner Person Jan 19, 2006 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Edith Ramirez Esq. Person May 31, 2014 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Harvey Rosenfield Esq. Person Jun 9, 2013 Organization Executive (past or present) Joseph Simmons Person Oct 19, 2006 Employee/Contractor/Fellow/Freelancer (past or present) Prof. Benjamin "Ben" J. Stein Esq. Person Sep 4, 2006 Organization Executive (past or present) Debra Valentine Esq. Person Aug 30, 2006 Organization Executive (past or present) David C. Vladeck Esq. Person Dec 2, 2010 Advised by (past or present) Prof. Timothy Wu Esq. Person Sep 30, 2014
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Oct 23, 2016 If your shampoo says “organic” on the label, it probably doesn’t mean anything (Buyer Beware)
QUOTE: for non-food items, such as shampoos, cosmetics, and textiles—there is no such certification process. The Federal Trade Commission has a “flexible” rule for industry, which requires marketers to have accurate and reliable science to back up their claims. But there is no formal definition for “organic” outside of food...
Quartz May 27, 2014 New Curbs Sought on the Personal Data Industry
QUOTE: The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday called on Congress to protect consumers against the unchecked collection and sharing of their digital data — from websites visited to their marital status — by providing people with tools to view, suppress and fix their information. The agency also said the little-known companies, called data brokers, that analyze and sell huge amounts of the consumer information for marketing purposes, needed to be reined in and more transparent to the public.
New York Times Feb 02, 2014 PSA: Missed Call From A Mystery Number? Be Careful.
QUOTE: But this is the first time I’ve seen them boil it down to a simple missed call. It plays on the ubiquity of smartphones, and that… no one really calls each other anymore....How To Avoid Gettin’ Scammed:
TechCrunch Dec 03, 2013 The Wedding Fix Is In
QUOTE: Wedding vendors seemed to be trying to size me up to figure out how much I’m willing to pay; consumer advocates say this is a common practice, as is charging more for a given service for a wedding than for a “family function” or “corporate event.”...forms of what economists call price discrimination; it sounds unfair, but it’s perfectly legal, and it’s easier to get away with in markets where there’s little price transparency and consumers are relatively uninformed.
New York Times Oct 11, 2013 Google to Sell Users’ Endorsements
QUOTE: Google on Friday announced that it would soon be able to show users’ names, photos, ratings and comments in ads across the Web, endorsing marketers’ products. Facebook already runs similar endorsement ads. But on Thursday it, too, took a step to show personal information more broadly by changing its search settings to make it harder for users to hide from other people trying to find them on the social network.
New York Times Sep 24, 2013 Don't get blind-sided by hidden travel fees
QUOTE: That cheap rate on the screen rarely includes all fees. Without the help of a knowledgeable travel agent or a resource like NerdWallet that compares fees for a given airline route, it's challenging to calculate your total cost. Hotels, cruises and especially airlines like this model because fees have allowed them to stay profitable while slashing their base prices to appear competitive.
CNN/Money Magazine May 01, 2013 Google Glass, the beginning of wearable surveillance
QUOTE: imagine that millions of Americans walk around each day wearing the equivalent of a drone on their head: a device capable of capturing video and audio recordings of everything that happens around them. And imagine that these devices upload the data to large-scale commercial enterprises that are able to collect the recordings from each and every American and integrate them together to form a minute-by-minute tracking of the activities of millions....default mode is for all data to be automatically uploaded to cloud servers, where aggregation and back-end analytic capacity resides. So, who owns and what happens to the user's data?
CNN (Cable News Network) Jan 03, 2013 Was The FTC Too Easy On Google? Too Hard? FTC will not take action on search practices
QUOTE: the FTC finally made an announcement regarding its investigation of Google for alleged anticompetitive conduct. The investigation is now closed. The Commission will not be pursing antitrust litigation, and Google escaped without fines, and will make some minor voluntary changes regarding its search business.... Google has agreed to change some of the business practices to resolve the FTC’s concerns including those related to patents and what the FTC alls its “misuse of patent protection to prevent competition.”
WebProNews Dec 18, 2012 F.T.C. Opens an Inquiry Into Data Brokers
QUOTE: as consumers conduct more of their personal and commercial lives online, that type of data collection has been steadily increasing, fueled by new online surveillance techniques and more sophisticated analytics. Some companies, for example, have compiled several thousand different pieces of information on a majority of adults in the United States. Regulators say they are concerned that such comprehensive data collection could be used to profile, score or segment consumers, with the potential to unfairly limit the kinds of financial, insurance, health, education or other marketing offers certain consumers receive.
New York Times Aug 26, 2012 The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy
QUOTE: "The wheels of online commerce run on positive reviews," said Bing Liu, a data-mining expert at the University of Illinois, Chicago, whose 2008 research showed that 60 percent of the millions of product reviews on Amazon are five stars and an additional 20 percent are four stars. "But almost no one wants to write five-star reviews, so many of them have to be created."
New York Times Mar 09, 2012 The Web Is Awash in Reviews, but Not for Doctors. Here’s Why.
QUOTE: RateMDs now has reviews of more than 1,370,000 doctors in the United States and Canada. But getting in the faces of the previously untouchable professional class has inevitably led to legal threats. He says he gets about one each week over negative reviews and receives subpoenas every month or two for information that can help identify reviewers, who believe they are posting anonymously.
New York Times Jan 30, 2012 F.T.C. Fines a Collector of Debt $2.5 Million
QUOTE: The Federal Trade Commission signaled on Monday that it would continue to crack down on debt collectors who harass consumers for money they may not even be legally obligated to pay...Asset Acceptance, one of the nation’s largest debt collection companies, had agreed to pay a $2.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that the company deceived consumers when trying to collect old debts.
New York Times Jan 26, 2012 For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews
QUOTE: As the collective wisdom of the crowd displaces traditional advertising, the roaring engines of e-commerce are being stoked by favorable reviews. The VIP deal reflects the importance merchants place on these evaluations — and the lengths to which they go to game the system. Fake reviews are drawing the attention of regulators. They have cracked down on a few firms for deceitful hyping and suspect these are far from isolated instances.
New York Times May 21, 2011 The Privacy Challenge in Online Prize Contests (Bits)
QUOTE: The Netflix contest was celebrated as a triumph for the company and as a catalyst for bringing new techniques to data analysis. But in 2010, Netflix was forced to cancel a planned second prize because of privacy concerns....Mr. Vengroff, who called the Netflix contest “tremendously valuable” for elevating the field of data analysis, said the privacy model in his contest was far more secure.
New York Times Apr 20, 2011 In Online Games, a Path to Young Consumers
QUOTE: companies, often selling sugar cereals and junk food, are using multimedia games, online quizzes and cellphone apps to build deep ties with young consumers...When these tactics revolve around food, and blur the line between advertising and entertainment, they are a source of intensifying concern for nutrition experts and children’s advocates — and are attracting scrutiny from regulators.
New York Times Apr 05, 2011 Google Antitrust Investigation May Be On FTC’s Agenda
QUOTE: Google has done much to advance its laudable mission to “organize the world’s information,” but we’re concerned by a broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative.
WebProNews Mar 31, 2011 Antitrust Cry From Microsoft
QUOTE: The litany of particulars in Microsoft’s complaint… includes claims of anticompetitive practices by Google in search, online advertising and smartphone software. But a central theme, Microsoft says, is that Google unfairly hinders the ability of search competitors — and Microsoft’s Bing is almost the only one left — from examining and indexing information that Google controls, like its big video service YouTube.
New York Times Dec 28, 2010 Your iPhone and iPad are tracking you, researchers say
QUOTE: Consumers who say their personal information has been sent to advertisers without their knowledge have launched a legal battle against Apple and the makers of some of its most popular apps… "It's an invasion of their privacy, and it's done without their consent.”
Washington Post Dec 01, 2010 F.T.C. Backs Plan to Honor Privacy of Online Users
QUOTE: Saying that online companies have failed to protect the privacy of Internet users, the Federal Trade Commission recommended a broad framework for commercial use of Web consumer data, including a simple and universal “do not track” mechanism that would essentially give consumers the type of control they gained over marketers with the national “do not call” registry.
New York Times Oct 27, 2010 Satisfied with Google's promise to restrain Street View, FTC drops privacy-breach probe
QUOTE: The federal government has ended an inquiry into a privacy breach involving Google's Street View service, satisfied with the company's pledge to stop gathering e-mail, passwords and other information from residential WiFi networks as it rolls through neighborhoods.
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