• On June 9, 2011, the FTC announced its settlement with California Internet marketer Jaivin Karnani and his company, Balls of Kryptonite, as well as several associated companies, to settle charges that the defendants tricked British consumers into believing that the defendants were based in the United Kingdom by using foreign websites ending in “.co.uk”. According to the FTC’s complaint, by using “.co.uk” domain names, the defendants misled consumers into believing that they were buying from a company operating in the United Kingdom, and were therefore protected by manufacturer warranties that were valid there. The Complaint also alleges that the defendants imposed unexpected import duties as well as draconian cancellation and refund fees. The settlement order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting the products they sell as well or their return policies, and imposes a $500,000 compensatory judgment. FTC v. Karnani, No. 09-cv-5276 (C.D. Cal, filed Jul. 20, 2009); FTC File No. 092 3081.

A copy of the press release announcing the settlement can be found here.

A copy of the settlement agreement can be found here.

  • On June 2, 2011, the California State Senate rejected an Internet privacy bill that would have prevented websites from displaying users’ personal information without permission and would have required websites to remove information upon request within 96 hours or face a $10,000 fine. The bill was defeated following heavy lobbying from Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. Opponents of the bill argued that it would have forced consumers to make privacy decisions before they even use a service. In addition to opposition from social networking sites, Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Skype argued that the legislation is unnecessary, because companies already go to great lengths to protect individuals’ privacy.

A copy of the defeated bill can be found here.

  • The FTC and the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime will host “Stolen Futures: A Forum on Child Identity Theft,” on July 12, 2011, at the FTC Conference facility at 601 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20001. The forum will run from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Eastern, and according to the tentative agenda will feature several guest speakers, including Kathleen Styles, Chief Privacy Officer of the US Department of Education. For more information, click here. To view the agenda, click here.
  • On May 26, 2011, the FTC announced that it will be updating its advisory guide on how federal advertising law applies to marketing and sales on the Internet. It last issued guidance on the topic in 2000, in a document entitled “Dot Com Disclosures: Information About Online Advertising.” The agency seeks public comment on possible revisions to the guide, particularly on the technical and legal issues that marketing entities and consumer advocates would like to see addressed. Comments may be submitted until July 11, 2011.

A copy of the Staff Invitation for comments on the Dot Com Disclosure Business Guidance Publication can be found here.

A copy of the FTC’s 2000 guide, “Dot Com Disclosures,” can be found here.

Interested parties may be submit comments electronically here.