Apr 14, 2015

Can’t Just Phone In U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor Compliance

Recent civil actions this month brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against two companies that allowed their certification under the U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor Framework to lapse while still claiming to be compliant is a timely reminder that the Framework requires annual re-certification. The FTC cited this lapse as a deceptive trade practice by each of TES Franchising, LLC and American International Mailing, Inc.  By way of background, shortly after the European Union’s Data Privacy Directive (the Privacy Directive) became effective in 1998, the U.S. Department of Commerce worked with European Union data protection authorities to develop the U.S.-E.U. Safe Harbor… Read more

Apr 13, 2015

Canada’s CRTC Levies Fines in Two Email Spam Actions

On July 1, 2014, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (commonly referred to as CASL) came into effect with a focus on uninvited commercial electronic messages (CEMs), including commercial-related emails.  While aspects of the Canadian law are similar to the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act, which sets forth specific compliance requirements for unsolicited commercial email messages sent within the U.S., CASL is arguably stricter in that it requires affirmative consent by the recipient. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has lost no time in enforcing the new CASL requirements. On March 5, 2015, the CRTC announced a Notice of Violation along with a proposed… Read more

Apr 12, 2015

FTC Cautions on Use of Consumer Data Following Business Acquisitions

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has long been aggressive in holding businesses accountable for the commitments made to consumers in online privacy policies. Among the related issues that the FTC has revisited over the years is the validity of changing data use practices after a business acquisition or merger. As early as 2000 in the Toysmart bankruptcy case, the FTC adopted a strict view that an acquirer — even one in a bankruptcy setting — could either not acquire (depending on the transaction structure) or undertake new uses of consumer data collected by an acquired company if the acquired company’s privacy policy… Read more

Apr 9, 2015

FCC Steps Up Data Enforcement Role With $25 Million Fine

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced yesterday that it has entered into a settlement with AT&T Services, Inc. as a result of the FCC’s investigation of a series of data breaches during 2013 and 2014 at AT&T call centers in Mexico, Colombia, and the Philippines. As part of the settlement, AT&T must pay a $25 million civil money penalty — the largest data enforcement ever imposed by the FCC for data privacy and security concerns — provide data breach notification to affected customers and offer those customers credit monitoring services. The data breaches involved over 40 employees who stole sensitive… Read more