• On September 28, 2011, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Joe Barton, R-Tex., jointly sent a letter to the FTC requesting that it investigate Facebook's practice of recording information about websites visited by users after they log out of Facebook. The practice, which uses cookies programmed to remain active after log-out, was discovered and publicized by a blogger. Facebook claims it has stopped the practice. The letter is available here.
  • The FTC has settled its case against a Florida text-message spammer who allegedly sent millions of unwanted text messages regarding home loan modifications and represented that he was associated with a government agency. The settlement bars the defendant from sending spam text messages and requires him to pay $32,000 to settle a $58,946.90 judgment. More information is available here.
  • The FTC seeks comment on proposed changes to its Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule promulgated under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The proposed changes include updating the definition of "personal information" to include geolocation information and other types of persistent identifiers, such as tracking cookies used for behavioral advertising. The FTC also proposes adding new methods for obtaining verifiable parental consent, including electronic scans of signed parental consent forms and video-conferencing, and eliminating "e-mail plus" verification of parent consent which is considered less reliable. The FTC also proposes to strengthen oversight of self-regulatory "safe harbor programs" by implementing reporting and auditing requirements. Comments are due November 28, 2011. The FTC press release about the proceeding is available here. The text of the Federal Register notice is available here.