Interactive Counsel

Arent Fox's interactive media law blog - latest news and trends in advertising, data security & privacy, and IP.

Interactive Counsel
Advertising, Product Placement & Distribution, Payment Processing, Electronic Fund Transfers & Mobile Payments
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Mailin’ It In: The FTC Gives the Mail Order Rule a Makeover

The News

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced changes to the “Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise” Rule (a.k.a., the Mail Order Rule) aimed at updating the Rule for the 21st century and easing the costs of compliance. The Rule also got a new name and will now be known as the “Mail, Internet, or Telephone Order Merchandise” Rule. The changes will take effect on December 8, 2014.

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Privacy & Security
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FTC Lends Support to Federal Geolocation Data Bill

What’s the News?

In testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this summer, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lent its support to federal legislation that would require businesses to obtain “affirmative express consent” from consumers before collecting geolocation data from mobile devices.

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Advertising
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FTC Springs into Action Against National Advertisers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on September 23, 2014 that it recently completed a nationwide advertising review that resulted in warning letters to more than 60 advertisers. The review, termed “Operation Full Disclosure” by the FTC, targeted companies that failed to make proper disclosures in their television and print advertisements. In particular, the FTC sought out ads where important information needed to prevent consumers from being mislead was either contained in the fine print or otherwise hard to locate.

The FTC has consistently stated that advertisements must clearly and conspicuously disclose material information to consumers. Simply put, “consumers should be able to notice disclosures easily; they should not have to look for them.”

The FTC provided some examples of targeted conduct:

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Advertising, E-Commerce, Social Media
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You’re Not Gonna Like This! Facebook Limits Advertisers’ Options for Boosting Likes

What’s the News?

Thanks to a recently announced change to Facebook’s “Platform Policy,” it will soon become more difficult for companies to get consumers to “like” their Facebook page as part of a promotional campaign. The change will take effect on November 5, 2014.

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Advertising
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FTC Expresses Concerns with Potential Discrimination at Big Data Workshop

On September 15, 2014, Arent Fox was in attendance at the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public workshop on so-called “Big Data” that was designed to explore how its use is impacting American consumers. Although no new regulatory initiatives were announced at the workshop, panelists and speakers repeatedly expressed concern that the growing use of Big Data could lead companies to discriminate against economically disadvantaged consumers.

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E-Commerce, Mobile Marketing, Payment Processing, Electronic Fund Transfers & Mobile Payments, Privacy & Security, Social Media
How the Cookie Crumbles: Cookie Enforcement Sweeps Begin in EU

What’s the News?

European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) — the entities responsible for enforcing the European Union (EU) Data Directive and the EU Cookie Directive — are taking part in what is being referred to as “Cookie Sweep Day.” This “day” will actually last a week, beginning September 15, 2014 and ending on September 19, 2014.

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Payment Processing, Electronic Fund Transfers & Mobile Payments, Privacy & Security, Song-Beverly Act
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Walmart Argues Against Class Certification in Customer Data Collection Case

What Made News?

Walmart recently argued that the US District Court for the Eastern District of California should not grant class certification in a suit alleging that Walmart’s data collection practices violate California’s Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971 (Song-Beverly Act).

Details of the Case

Under the Song-Beverly Act, retailers are prohibited from collecting “personal identification information” (PII) in connection with a credit card purchase. Following a California Supreme Court decision, ZIP codes fall within the definition of PII. The plaintiffs in this case argued that Walmart requested and recorded the plaintiffs’ ZIP codes when they made purchases by credit card, thereby violating the Song-Beverly Act. The plaintiffs then went on to ask that the Court approve a class consisting of all persons in California required by Walmart to provide any type of PII during a credit card transaction, not just ZIP codes.

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Promotions, Sweepstakes & Contests, Social Media, User-Generated Content
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Washington State Attorney General Addresses Consumer Protection in the Age of Crowdfunding

What’s the News?

A recent lawsuit in Washington State suggests that so-called “crowdfunded” fundraising campaigns could be in for greater scrutiny from consumer protection regulators. “Crowdfunding” — in which projects are funded by raising contributions from a large number of people — are growing in popularity, driven in large part by the success of online crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and RocketHub. These platforms allow just about anyone with an idea to raise money from the general public, but at least some regulators are starting to wonder whether the public is getting its money’s worth.

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COPPA & GLB
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Changes to FTC’s COPPA Guidance Increase Flexibility for Businesses

Recent revisions to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) compliance materials offer new clarity on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule and provide businesses with several new tools to consider as they determine how to comply with the Rule’s requirements. The revisions to the COPPA “Frequently Asked Questions” document should make it easier for businesses to obtain “verifiable” consent from parents, as is required before a website collects personal information from children under the age of 13.

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Advertising, Payment Processing, Electronic Fund Transfers & Mobile Payments, Privacy & Security, Social Media
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High Profile Data Breaches Spur Legislative Action on Cyber Security

What’s Making News?

After a spate of high-profile data security breaches, many legislators, businesses, and consumers are asking what can be done to prevent such security lapses and who should be held responsible. The increased attention to data security has led to a flurry of recent activity in state legislatures and in Washington.

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ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP

Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.