The Federal Trade Commission is publishing a series of blog posts to build on the FTC’s Start with Security guide for businesses.
The posts use hypothetical examples based on lessons from closed investigations, FTC law enforcement actions, and questions from businesses to educate owners about data security.
In the first blog post, the FTC highlights some of the themes that have emerged from an examination of closed FTC data security investigations. For example, while news reports might call attention to a data breach, they might not focus on the fact that the company that suffered the breach had encrypted the data, which substantially reduces the risk of consumer injury. Another lesson gleaned is that security researchers’ work can alert businesses to new vulnerabilities, but sometimes the risk of a vulnerability being exploited to cause consumer injury is more theoretical than likely.
Another key lesson is that in almost every closed case, the entities involved used the same common-sense security fundamentals outlined in the FTC’s Start with Security guide for businesses.
The FTC’s Business Blog will publish an additional post each Friday.
The Federal Trade Commission announced several internal process reforms in the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection intended to streamline information requests and improve transparency in commission investigations.
The reforms are part of efforts to further the agency’s mission to protect consumers and promote competition without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.
This past April, the FTC announced new internal Working Groups on Agency Reform and Efficiency to improve processes and focus resources. As part of this initiative, the Bureau of Consumer Protection identified best practices to streamline information requests and improve transparency in investigations.
The process reforms address CIDs (Civil Investigative Demands) in consumer protection cases, and include:
• Providing plain language descriptions of the CID process and developing business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
• Adding more detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the agency seeks;
• Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies;
• Where appropriate, significantly reducing the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data; and
• Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of compliance by recipients.
The Federal Trade Commission has announced the final agenda for its June 28 workshop to examine the consumer privacy and security issues posed by automated and connected cars.
FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen will deliver opening remarks at the daylong workshop. The event will bring together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government officials, to discuss privacy and security issues related to connected and automated vehicles.
The workshop will feature panel discussions on the types of data connected cars will generate, collect and share; cybersecurity challenges; the privacy implications of connected cars; and potential role of government agencies.
The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC 20024. The conference will be webcast live.
Auto purchase, financing and leasing will be among the main topics of an upcoming Federal Trade Commission workshop.
The FTC announced the agenda and speakers confirmed to date for its upcoming workshop in San Antonio on July 19.The forum will focus on financial issues and scams that can affect military consumers, including active duty service members in all branches and veterans.
Military consumer advocates and groups, government representatives (local, state, and federal), military legal services and legal clinics (including those at universities), all service branches, and industry representatives will speak at the event.
The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will take place at Chapman Auditorium, Trinity University, San Antonio.
Preregistration is not required.
The event will also be tweeted live from the FTC’s Military Consumer Twitter account (@Milconsumer (link is external)) using hash tag #MilFinancialWorkshop.
The staff of the Federal Trade Commission has provided its 2016 Annual Financial Acts Enforcement Report to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on enforcement and related activities regarding Regulation Z (Truth in Lending Act), Regulation M (Consumer Leasing Act), and Regulation E (Electronic Fund Transfer Act).
The report on TILA, CLA, and EFTA addresses, among other things, the FTC’s enforcement actions related to non-mortgage credit, including automobile purchases and financing, payday lending, and consumer electronics financing, mortgage-related credit such as forensic audit scams, leasing, and negative options and other cases involving electronic fund transfers. It also provides information about the FTC’s efforts regarding consumer and business education, research, and policy development related to truth in lending, leasing, and electronic fund transfers.
A copy of the report also has been provided to the Federal Reserve Board.
U.S. PIRG, along with Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) and the Center for Auto Safety, is challenging in court recent actions by the Federal Trade Commission.
The issue is the FTC’s decision to allow dealers to advertise used cars as “safe,” “repaired for safety issues,” or “subject to a rigorous inspection,” even if those used cars are subject to safety recalls.
The groups claim that doing so is unfair or a deceptive act or practice.
Recently, the groups filed a second petition for review in the federal appeals court and an amended complaint in the federal trial court. They did this to include within its pending challenge the FTC’s decision to allow CarMax Inc., Asbury Automotive Group, Inc., and West-Herr Automotive Group, Inc. to engage in similar conduct.
The Federal Trade Commission has extended the deadline until May 1 for the public to submit comments on topics that should be examined as part of a June 28 workshop on the consumer privacy and security issues posed by automated and connected motor vehicles.
Last month, the FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is co-hosting the workshop, called on the public to submit comments on the privacy and security issues associated with connected cars. The comment deadline, originally set for April 20, has been extended to May 1 at the request of stakeholders.
A list of suggested questions and information about submitting comments can be found on the workshop’s detailed public notice.
It will be webcast live on the FTC’s website. Registration information, an agenda, directions to the FTC’s Constitution Center building, and a list of speakers will be available on the event webpage.
Auto purchase, financing, and leasing will be among the topics at an upcoming Federal Trade Commission workshop.
The FTC is hosting a workshop in San Antonio, Texas, on July 19 to examine financial issues and scams that can affect military consumers, including active duty service members in all branches and veterans. The workshop also will discuss FTC resources available to military consumer advocates and representatives on financial readiness and fraud prevention, including the FTC’s Military Consumer Toolkit, available at Military.Consumer.gov.
The FTC’s Military Consumer Financial Workshop: Protecting Those Who Protect Our Nation will bring together military consumer advocates, consumer groups, government representatives (local, state, and federal), military legal services and legal clinics (including those at universities), all service branches, and industry representatives.
Sage Automotive Group – nine Los Angeles-based auto dealerships, their holding and management companies, and two individuals – has agreed to pay more than $3.6 million for return to consumers in order to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it used deceptive and unfair sales and financing practices, deceptive advertising and deceptive online reviews.
The proposed settlement order will prohibit the defendants from making misrepresentations relating to their advertising, add-on products, financing and endorsements or testimonials.
The proposed order will also bar the defendants from engaging in other unlawful conduct when a sale is cancelled, such as failing to return any down payment or trade-in or seeking legal action, arrest, repossession or debt collection unless the action is lawful and the defendants intend to take such action. It also prohibits them from violating the Truth In Lending Act and Regulation Z, and the Consumer Leasing Act and Regulation M.
Auto related issues made up 3 percent of consumer complaints received by the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network in 2016.
There were 84,673 complaints logged on the website. Auto complaints ranked No. 8 on the overall list.
Debt collection was first with 859,090, making up 28 percent of all complaints.