Legal Watch Bulletin - Feb 2017

FTC Releases report on Cross device Tracking

The Federal Trade Commission has released Cross-Device Tracking: An FTC Staff Report that describes the technology used to track consumers across multiple Internet-connected devices, the benefits and challenges associated with it, and industry efforts to address those challenges. The report concludes by making recommendations to industry about how to apply traditional principles like transparency, choice, and security to this relatively new practice.

Here is a link to the report

New FCC Head speaks out on Net neutrality

The new Republican chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, just appointed by President Trump, moved to pare back outdated commission regulations, but declined to say if he will move quickly to overturn the Obama administration’s landmark net neutrality rules.

One top priority is “to remove unnecessary or counterproductive regulations from the books,” Pai told reporters Tuesday after he chaired his first meeting. “We want to make sure that our regulations match the realities of the modern marketplace.” Source Reuters USA

LA City Attorney Sues Major Retailers for Deceptive Advertising

The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has sued four major retailers, alleging deceptive advertising that it says misled shoppers into believing that thousands of products were on sale at a hefty discount.

The retailers falsely advertised high “list” or “regular” prices on merchandise that was never actually for sale at that price, according to the lawsuits filed in December 2016 in Los Angeles County Superior Court. That led customers to believe that they were getting a better bargain with the “sale” price than they actually were.

These tactics — called false reference pricing — “play a major role in the companies’ overall marketing and business strategies,” the L.A. city attorney’s office said in a statement. Source LA Times Dec 2016.

Here is a sample of one of the complaints

FTC Settles with Water Filtration Distributor

A Georgia-based distributor of water filtration systems will stop making misleading unqualified claims that its products are made in the United States, under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
In its complaint against iSpring Water Systems, LLC, the FTC alleged that the company deceived consumers with false, misleading, or unsupported claims that its water filtration systems and parts are “Built in USA,” “Built in USA Legendary brand of water filter,” and “Proudly Built in the USA.”

In fact, according to the complaint, iSpring’s products either are wholly imported or are made using a significant amount of inputs from overseas.

Here is a link to the FTC complaint

FTC Forum t Focus on Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain

The Federal Trade Commission will host its third FinTech Forum on March 9, 2017, focusing on the consumer implications of two rapidly developing technologies: artificial intelligence and blockchain.

Artificial intelligence focuses on the capability for machines to mimic human thinking or actions, including learning and problem solving. The technology may be used, for example, to provide personalized financial services for consumers, including providing money management tools.

Blockchain technology involves a distributed digital ledger for recording transactions that can be shared widely. It first emerged as the foundation for digital currency, and it is now being explored for other consumer-focused uses including payment systems and “smart contracts.”

The half-day event is designed to bring together industry participants, consumer groups, researchers, and government representatives, to examine the ways in which these technologies are being used to offer consumers services, the potential benefits, and consumer protection implications as these technologies continue to develop. Source: FTC.Gov

The BAA Legal Webinar on February 14, 2017 covered Blockchain legal and business development. Click here to see the event recap and presentation.