• On August 9, 2012, the FTC announced its much-anticipated settlement with Google on allegations that Google misrepresented to Safari Internet browser users that it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads on them. This settlement imposes $22.5 million in fines, the largest penalty the FTC has ever assessed for a violation of one of its orders. According to the FTC, Google’s actions violated an earlier October 2011 privacy settlement between it and Google wherein Google represented to certain users that it would not place tracking cookies or serve targeted ads based on those cookies. But despite Google’s representations, the FTC found that some users did, in fact, get tracking cookies and targeted ads in violation of that settlement. In addition to the civil penalty, the order also requires Google to disable all the tracking cookies it had originally agreed it would not place on users’ computers. More information regarding the settlement is available here.
  • On August 6, 2012, the FTC published a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Comment in the Federal Register regarding further modifications to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule. The FTC, in response to comments filed in September 2011, now proposes to modify certain definitions in the Rule to clarify its scope and strengthen its protections for the online collection, use, or disclosure of children's personal information. The proposed modifications are to the definitions “personal information,” “support for internal operations,” “website or online service directed to children,” and “operator.” Public comments on the Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking are due September 10, 2012. More information regarding the Supplemental Notice is available here. The text of the Federal Register Notice is available here.
  • The FTC will host a “Robocall Summit” on October 18, 2012, in Washington, DC. The purpose of the summit will be to examine issues surrounding illegal pre-recorded robocalls. It will also highlight industry innovations that could potentially be used to trace robocalls and prevent illegal robocallers from faking caller ID data. The Robocall Summit will be open to the public, and will include members of law enforcement, the telemarketing and telecommunications industry, consumer groups, as well as other stakeholders. More information about the FTC’s recent efforts related to robocall issues and the Robocall Summit is available here.