The Federal Trade Commission announced several enforcement actions in the last year relating to endorsements, privacy and data security. These announcements provide valuable information to companies engaged in these activities: the announcements describe exactly what actions were purported to violate federal laws and what the subjects of the settlements agreed to do to comply with such laws going forward.
In this article, which was published in M/E Insights, the biannual magazine published by the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel, James Taylor and Jill Westmoreland describe two settlements with companies that posted, or engaged others to post, online reviews of products, and why these reviews violated the FTC’s endorsement guides. The authors also discuss two companies that failed to comply with their own privacy promises – something the FTC has been targeting for over a decade. And the article covers settlements with two companies that failed to provide adequate security for consumer and employee data within their control. The authors also provide practical suggestions for complying with endorsement, privacy and data security laws and guidelines, as well as a list of online resources to assist with compliance.
This article was first printed in the Winter/Summer 2011 edition of M/E Insights. Permission for reprint has been granted.