Behind the Scenes

Arent Fox's advertising law blog - latest news and trends in advertising, data security & privacy, and fashion & entertainment.

Behind the Scenes
Privacy & Security - US & Abroad
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Back to the Future: House Moves to Update Email Privacy Law

In a key win for digital privacy advocates, the House unanimously passed the Email Privacy Act yesterday in a 419-0 vote. Supporters, including top Silicon Valley names and privacy groups, now look to the Senate and then President Obama to bring the popular Act to fruition.
 
The bipartisan bill from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Jared Polis (D-CO) would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to search through emails and other messages that are more than 180 days old. The current legislation governing digital communications, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, allows police to search through digital archives with just a subpoena or court order. Why 180 days? The technical ability to store information online was much more limited when the current legislation was originally passed. When were these rules drafted? 1986.
 

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Privacy & Security - US & Abroad
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Tennessee Expands Breach Notification Statute

What’s the News?

Data breach notifications may be more common in Tennessee. Notably, the Governor recently signed into law a bill updating the current breach notification requirements by (a) requiring notice even where data is encrypted, (b) requiring notice within 45 days of discovery of the breach (barring a law enforcement hold), and (c) more clearly covering the actions of malicious employees. This change is notable because it requires notification even if the data is encrypted.  It applies to organizations handling Tennessee residents’ data. The new law will take effect July 1, 2016. Given this amendment, all companies should consider any necessary updates to incident response plans.

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Privacy & Security - US & Abroad
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Cracks in Privacy Shield Need to be Filled

On April 13, 2016, the Article 29 Working Party released its opinion on the EU-US Privacy Shield. Having reviewed the draft Privacy Shield documents, which included an adequacy decision and supporting texts, the Working Party has now expressed several concerns with both (a) the ability of the Privacy Shield to adequately protect the rights of Europeans and (b) the inconsistencies and lack of clarity in the drafting of the Privacy Shield.
 

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Advertising, Green Advertising
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Cosmetic Companies Agree to FTC Settlement After Promoting Products as “All Natural”

The Federal Trade Commission announced on April 12 that it reached settlement agreements with four companies that market skin care products, shampoos, and sunscreens online over charges that they falsely claimed that their products are “ALL NATURAL” or “100% NATURAL,” despite the fact that they contain synthetic ingredients. 

The Commission voted unanimously to issue each administrative complaint and to accept the four proposed settlement agreements. The Commission has also issued a complaint against a fifth company, California Naturel, for making similar claims. A copy of the FTC’s press release announcing the settlement agreements can be found here.

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Advertising, E-Commerce
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Winds of Change: Court Grants Summary Judgment for Plaintiff in Website Accessibility ADA Claim

Last September, we published an alert warning retailers of a looming expansion in the reach of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act that would impose requirements on e-commerce websites to make themselves more accessible to users with a wide variety of disabilities. While the US Department of Justice has yet to promulgate regulations specifying those requirements, enforcement actions by DOJ and threatened class action lawsuits by a number of plaintiffs’ law firms all point towards the likelihood that retailers' websites will have to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v. 2.0.

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Advertising, Promotions, Sweepstakes & Contests, Social Media
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FTC Targets Retailers Offering Tweets for Pay

Social media disclosures may cause heart palpitations for advertisers and copywriters, but the Federal Trade Commission isn’t backing down. A recent settlement involving Lord & Taylor provides another important reminder that the FTC is scrutinizing social media campaigns and that proper disclosures are required, even if you only have 140 characters to do it in.

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Payment Processing, Electronic Fund Transfers & Mobile Payments
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Costco Looks to Knock Out FACTA Receipt Class Action

What’s the News?

Costco Wholesale Corporation recently moved to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging that the discount retailer printed more than the last five digits of a customer’s credit card number on her receipt, in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA). Costco argued in its motion that the document upon which the credit card number was printed – a longer document provided to the plaintiff by a customer service supervisor – was not actually a “point-of-sale” receipt within the meaning of FACTA, taking it outside the scope of the law. This case presents an interesting issue for companies as they seek to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation under FACTA.
 

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Privacy & Security - US & Abroad
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Detour – Rerouting: Unsecure Routers Lead to FTC Action

Key Takeaways

  • Following a settlement, ASUSTeK must maintain a comprehensive security program and endure 20 years of independent audits 
  • The onus is on technology companies to ensure reasonable security measures and practices

What the News?

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Advertising, Media & Entertainment
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Ninth Circuit Gives New Life to Grand Theft Auto Class Action

What the News?

In a recent opinion, the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit against the developer of the highly-anticipated videogame Grand Theft Auto V. Two plaintiffs filed a putative class action, claiming that the game’s packaging made promises that the company did not keep. In particular, the plaintiffs asserted that the packaging suggested the game included an online, interactive component, when in fact this functionality was not available to users at the time the game was released. While the district court found that the plaintiffs had not properly stated a claim for relief in their complaint, the Ninth Circuit disagreed, stressing the plaintiff-friendly standard for a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The case presents an interesting issue for advertising related to videogame capabilities.=

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E-Commerce, Payment Processing, Electronic Fund Transfers & Mobile Payments
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Amazon Fights Injunction in FTC Action Over In-App Billing Practices

Practical Guidance

  • In-app purchasing remains a priority for regulators.  
  • Companies with mobile apps should incorporate password protection and informative prompts to obtain informed consent from account owners for in-app purchases.

What the News?

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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.