- Google has confirmed that the FTC is investigating the company, but the exact nature of the review has not yet been disclosed. Google stated in a blog post that it is “unclear” what the FTC’s concerns are. Reports are that the agency is examining whether Google has abused its search dominance to the detriment of competitors. Other companies have apparently cooperated with the FTC in the review. Google stated that the use of its service is voluntary, so it focuses solely on the user and providing the best search results. Google’s blog post is available here. Google’s webpage on competition is available here.
- On June 29, 2011, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill testified on behalf of the agency before the Senate Commerce Committee regarding privacy on the Internet. She stated that the FTC promotes a “privacy by design” approach for companies to incorporate “privacy protections into their everyday business practices, such as collecting or retaining only the data they need to provide a requested service or transaction, and implementing reasonable security for such data.” She also highlighted a “Do Not Track” solution as a “universal, one-stop choice mechanism for online behavioral tracking.” The FTC press release regarding Commissioner Brill’s testimony is available here.
- News reports are circulating that the FTC is investigating Twitter and its relationships with third-party application providers, such as UberMedia Inc. which creates applications for advertising and photo sharing, among other uses. Twitter has bought several third-party providers over the last year, including TweetDeck, and is suspected of disadvantaging unaffiliated third-party apps.
- 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 N.W., 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 U.S. 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.