On Monday, October 31, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) called on education technology provider Chegg, Inc. (Chegg) to bolster its data security, citing lax security practices that regulators said exposed the personal data of more than 40 million Chegg users. The exposed personal information included names, email addresses, passwords, and for certain users, sensitive scholarship data such as dates of birth, parents’ income range, sexual orientation, and disabilities.
It’s no secret that companies like Google, Alpha, Meta, and Twitter use and sell our data. However, in recent years, the content that companies display to us while we use their platform, from the ads we see to the websites that we find on search engines, has become a major contentious issue. While Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act shields Big Tech and other online platforms from liability for user-generated content, the Supreme Court recently announced that it will hear Gonzalez v. Google. The outcome of this case could have a huge impact on tech policy and could fundamentally change the type of content that we see online.
In 2019, Senator Josh Hawley put forth legislation to regulate loot boxes advertised or sold to minors in video games. The legislation was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation but did not move any further. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been researching the use of loot boxes since 2018 and has done multiple workshops to promote public awareness of microtransactions. More recently there has been public sentiment for changes in the gaming industry and other countries such as Singapore have taken steps this year to protect consumers from predatory practices of game companies.
On Wednesday, April 6, 2022, Senator Pat Toomey of Virginia released a discussion draft of the Stablecoin Transparency of Reserves and Uniform Safe Transactions Act of 2022, also known as the Stablecoin TRUST Act (“the TRUST Act”). This new legislation, introduced in the United States Senate, aims to create a three-pronged regulatory framework for the issuers of stablecoins in the United States. Like similar bills on the topic of stablecoin, such as the Stablecoin Innovation and Protection Act of 2022, the bill is short at only fourteen pages long. Where the bills differ is immediately noted in the more robust definitions section of the TRUST Act which lays out a six-part definition of “payment stablecoins” that covers the design intent of a stablecoin, who can issue a stablecoin, whether the holder can inherently earn interest, and where the stablecoin transactions are recorded.
On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Congressman Josh Gottheimer released a draft of the Stablecoin Innovation and Protection Act of 2022 (“the bill”). This legislation attempts to both define stablecoins as well as provide a legal framework in which the issuers and users of stablecoins can safely and legally operate. The bill is surprisingly brief, only nine pages long, but Gottheimer claims that it will provide greater direction and certainty to the marketplace in order to boost innovation while also protecting consumers.
Conversation surrounding the hodgepodge of state data privacy legislation in the U.S. has long been a subject of frustration within the U.S. and abroad. 2021 saw a drastic uptick in awareness and a need for meaningful comprehensive consumer privacy laws. With both data privacy and cybersecurity repeatedly making front page news over the last year, and even becoming high priority within the Biden Administration, it has become one of the few issues on which people across the political spectrum can agree. But will 2022 be the year that comprehensive federal privacy legislation becomes a reality? Don’t count on it.
Robocalls are an increasing threat to Americans across the country. In 2020, American consumers received nearly 4 billion robocalls per month. This number quickly increased in March 2021 when Americans received 4.9 billion robocalls. Although not all robocalls are illegal, illegal robocalls hurt Americans by spamming them to market a product. Americans have a choice to give their written consent, but the issue stems from robocalls marketing products without written consent. About 60 million Americans say they have been a victim to phone scams in the last year and have lost nearly $30 billion as a result. Unfortunately, despite the FCC and FTC increasingly targeting spammers and illegal robocalls, it is difficult to say when this problem will end.
In the age of online consumerism, many companies utilize automatic renewal programs to deliver their products and services to customers on a recurring basis for a monthly or annual charge. Recently, autorenewal programs have seen an increase in consumer protection through legislation at both the state and federal level along with enforcement actions brought by private plaintiffs, state attorney generals, and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). Organizations that utilize automatic renewal should be aware of the uptick in autorenewal program enforcement and look to strengthen and update their policies where appropriate.
A full year of quarantine, and a whole lot of spam. You wouldn’t be alone in noticing that telemarketer and spam calls have proliferated in the past year of lockdown. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has noticed, too: the tail end of 2020 saw the agency file its first ever complaint against a VoIP service provider for enabling scammers to make robocalls. Just weeks later, they filed their second. The agency is making clear that this new method of enforcement will help combat the issue—but is it?
Vertical Healthcare Companies Merging Compliance Programs Perri Nena Smith Senior Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2021 In 2020, The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) released guidelines for vertical mergers to give clarity to companies so they can avoid harmful mergers. Healthcare companies are an industry that has been …