• On October 14, 2011, the FTC, U.S. Department of Justice, and the European Commission announced an updated set of “best practices” that they use to coordinate their merger reviews and celebrated the 20th anniversary of the United States-European Union bilateral antitrust agreement. The revised U.S.-E.U. best practices “[p]rovide more guidance to firms about how to work with the agencies to coordinate and facilitate the reviews of their proposed transactions; [r]ecognize that transactions that authorities in the U.S. and Europe review may also be subject to antitrust review in other countries; and [p]lace greater emphasis on coordination among the agencies at key stages of their investigations, including the final stage in which agencies consider potential remedies to preserve competition.” 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.