Enforcement Update: FTC Free Credit Report Rules and More


Senate Confirms New Commissioners
The Senate confirmed Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez to serve a seven-year term as Commissioners replacing former FTC Chairwoman Majoras and Commissioner Jones-Harbour who steps down on April 6th.  Commissioner Brill has been very active in consumer privacy issues and was the Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Working Group on Privacy.

Free Credit Report Rules

Responding to the heavy marketing of free credit reports, the FTC issued a new rule requiring prominent disclosures in advertisements for “free credit reports.”  As an example, the FTC states that websites offering free credit reports must have a disclosure on each page informing consumers of their right to free credit report  and include a clickable button that says “Take me to the authorized source”.  An FTC sample disclosure is below.

The FTC even released their own Free Credit Report commercials spoofing one we’ve seen countless times.

More Info:  FTC Release.

Lifelock, Controlscan Consent Decrees For False Representations On Privacy And Data Security

LifeLock, Inc., whose advertisements highlight their CEO’s social security number on the side of truck,  has agreed to pay $11 million to the Federal Trade Commission and $1 million to a group of 35 state attorneys general to settle charges that the company used false claims to promote its identity theft protection services.  As FTC Chairman Liebowitz explained, while “LifeLock promised consumers complete protection against all types of identity theft, in truth, the protection it actually provided left enough holes that you could drive a truck through it.”

The FTC also entered into a consent decree with ControlScan, which certifies the privacy and security of online retailers, because it misled consumers “about how often it monitored the sites and the steps it took to verify their privacy and security practices.”

More Info:  FTC Release re: Lifelock, FTC Release re: ControlScan

Department of Justice Forms IP Crimes TaskForce
The Department of Justice has announced a new intellectual property task force that will bring together antitrust, the civil and criminal divisions, and the FBI in an effort to “confront the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property (IP) crimes.’  The Task Force will work with the newly created White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.  Vice President Biden signaled that we can expect “stronger and stricter enforcement of intellectual property rights.”

More Info:  New IP task force brings “stronger and stricter enforcement”, ArsTechnica