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UK Parliament Accuses Facebook of 'Striking Deals Over User Data'

Facebook has once again found themselves in hot water. The UK Parliament released internal documents from the 'Book appearing to reveal that executives, including Mark Zuckerberg may have once again, made poor decisions on how to handle users' data.

The internal emails seem to show how the company made deals to give certain companies (like Netflix and AirBnB) special access to user data while refusing others (like Twitter-owned, Vine).

To read more about Facebook's most recent alleged misconduct, visit The Times article online.
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Oath, Verizon Subsidiary to Pay Largest-Ever COPPA Enforcement Fine in the US for Targeting Ads to Children

Oath, a Verizon subsidiary that is an ad tech division created from the merging of AOL and Yahoo, just agreed to pay nearly $5 million to settle charges with the New York Attorney General's office.  The company's advertising practices online were said to have violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). This is the largest penalty  a company has agreed to pay since COPPA was enacted in 1998.

COPPA requires companies to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting children's personal information. According to Barbara D. Underwood, New York's attorney general, "AOL flagrantly violated the law--and children's privacy..."

The New York Times reported that AOL, through its ad exchange was placing targeted ads on hundreds of websites that it knew were directed to children under 13. The ads were chosen by utilizing personally identifiable information of children, in violation of COPPA.

Visit the New York Times online for further inf…

FTC Gives Final Approval to Settlements with Four Companies Related to EU-U.S. Privacy Shield

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has given final approval to settlements with four companies over allegations that they falsely claimed certification under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.

The FTC alleged that the companies falsely claimed to be certified under the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, which establishes a process to allow companies to transfer consumer data from European Union countries to the United States in compliance with the EU law.

The FTC alleged that the companies did not hold the certifications that they claimed to. To read more about the settlements, visit the Federal Trade Commission's press release online.

Markey, Udall, Blumenthal Send Letter, Urge FTC to Investigate Manipulative Ads in Children’s Apps

Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a letter on Tuesday urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate “regarding the manipulative
marketing practices by apps designed for children”.

This comes after the release of a research study, which indicated that popular apps for children in the iOS and Android systems are filled with advertisements which prompt and encourage young children to make in-app purchases, collect their personal data, all the while distracting them from the in-game experience.

The Senators emphasized the FTC’s statutory obligation to protect consumers’ welfare from “unfair and deceptive” marketing practices. The letter also states that “[c]hildren should be able to entertain themselves and play without being bombarded by promotional messages, which young people may not be able to accurately assess and identify as marketing….As parents increasingly permit kids to engage in online games and apps for entertainment a…

CARU Discusses Tips for Buying Connected Toys on The Bistro Podcast with the Better Business Bureau

In case you haven't heard, CARU Director, Dona Fraser and Senior Attorney, Katie Goldstein were guests on the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) podcast, The Bistro. We discussed essential tips for parents buying connected toys this holiday season. We had a great time and gave some excellent advice (if we do say so ourselves!) to help keep kids privacy safe. Check out The Bistro Podcast on Tips for Buying Connected Toys online. So if connected toys are on your child's wish list, be sure to give it a listen!

And if you haven't already, be sure to check out our article from last year about tips for buying connected toys on our blog.

Intel Pushes for Comprehensive Federal Privacy Law; Launches Online Consultation Portal for Draft Collaboration

As legislators and policy advocates make a stronger push for a comprehensive federal privacy law that would protect millions of consumers in the United States, Intel submitted a draft as well amidst a growing number of consumer privacy proposals that could set the nation’s privacy standards.

The tech company released an initial draft of a federal privacy bill that aims to protect the privacy of consumers while also protecting innovation. The bill, titled “Innovative and Ethical Data Use Act of 2018”, outlines twelve sections from general applicability provisions to a proposed effective date. The draft bill also includes what kind of enforcement authority the Federal Trade Commission and Attorney-General would have under the Act, and guidelines for data privacy practices as well as for reviewing third-party actions.

Intel has been able to recruit top data privacy professionals to provide input on the bill, a number of whom come from consumer privacy organizations like the Internationa…

Study Shows Deceptive Ads Directed to Children; Advocacy Groups Push for FTC Sanctions; CARU Remains Active in the Space

A number of child advocacy groups are worried after the release of a research study suggesting that popular apps for children in the iOS and Android systems feature advertisements that prompt and encourage young children to ma
ke in-app purchases, collect their personal data, and distract them from the in-game experience.

The study, titled “Advertising in Young Children’s Apps: A Content Analysis”, was written by a group of researchers headed by Jenny Radesky, who is a behavioral pediatrician at the University of Michigan Medical School. The research looked at 135 children’s apps including those in the “Ages 5 and Under” category, both paid and free and both from the Android and iOS app. The study found that in the sample, 88% of paid children’s apps and all of free children’s apps had advertisements, which varied in form and effect towards children.

The study noted various ways that advertisements were deceptive. The study noted that some advertisements were designed to look like a …