Tag: Consumer Protection

Justice Dept. Could Widen Its Scrutiny of Tech Companies, Official Says

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department could broaden its efforts to bring technology giants to heel, going beyond investigating potential antitrust violations to potentially challenge companies like Google and Facebook on multiple fronts, the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, warned on Monday. “We do not view antitrust law as a panacea for every problem in […]

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Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres Sue Pop-Up Websites Over Misleading Ads

LOS ANGELES — Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres have spent the last two years in a behind-the-scenes battle with obscure internet companies that peddle beauty products with fabricated endorsements. As soon as one site is taken down, another pops up in its place. Tired of playing Whac-a-Mole, the stars went public with their fight on […]

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There’s a Lot We Still Don’t Know About Libra

Last month, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spent over five grueling hours answering myriad questions from the members of the House Financial Services Committee on issues like election interference, hate speech, censorship and discriminatory advertising. While it was an important reminder of the many dangers that Facebook already presents to our society, we didn’t actually […]

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The Government Protects Our Food and Cars. Why Not Our Data?

After Apple discovered in June that certain MacBook laptops could overheat, posing a fire hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission quickly issued a warning, along with information about consumer burns and smoke inhalation. But after Apple learned that its FaceTime video chat app was enabling consumers to listen in on the conversations of people they […]

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Supreme Court to Rule on Trump’s Power to Fire Head of Consumer Bureau

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced on Friday that it would hear a challenge to the leadership structure of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, agreeing to decide whether the president is free to fire its director without cause. The bureau, the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, then a law professor at Harvard and now a senator […]

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The Freshman Democrat Who’s Making Conservatives Squirm

Unlike some of her fellow freshmen, Representative Katie Porter of California has managed to escape the ire of the current occupant of the White House. While she isn’t exactly rushing to take part in the Squad’s frequent Twitter smackdowns with the president, she is on friendly terms with the four women who make up the […]

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Congress Must Regulate the Location Data Industry

In the right hands, location data can be a force for good. It can provide publishers and app developers with advertising revenue so consumers can access free services and information. It can inform city planning, help ride-sharing users reach their destinations, guide travelers to great local spots, reassure parents their children are safely on their […]

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Don’t Weaken Privacy Protections for Children

A mother can’t clean her kitchen because her toddler’s next YouTube video won’t automatically play. A Native American language instructor won’t be able to monetize her Navajo language teaching channel. Online videos will be riddled with ads that have nothing to do with your interests. That’s the supposedly ominous future that critics in the technology […]

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Will the Supreme Court Hand Trump Even More Power?

The Supreme Court’s 2019-20 term started on Monday, but one of the biggest cases, on expanding presidential power, isn’t on the docket — yet. It will probably be soon, though, because President Trump’s Justice Department and other plaintiffs took remarkable steps in September to get the Supreme Court to take cases presenting the issue squarely […]

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Congress and Trump Agreed They Want a National Privacy Law. It Is Nowhere in Sight.

WASHINGTON — A rare thing emerged in Washington early this year: agreement. Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as the Trump White House, all said they wanted a new federal law to protect people’s online privacy. Numerous tech companies urged them on. And they had a deadline. With a broad California privacy law set […]

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Match.com Used Fake Ads to Swindle Users, F.T.C. Says

The Federal Trade Commission sued the company behind the dating site Match.com on Wednesday, saying it had used fake advertisements in an attempt to swindle hundreds of thousands of consumers into buying subscriptions. According to the complaint against Match Group Inc., which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of […]

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How Do You Fix … All of It?

At the inaugural conference, sponsored by The New York Times, influential leaders in academia, business and politics gathered to discuss and debate provocative issues, and provide innovative solutions to some of our nation’s top policy agenda challenges. Task forces developed recommendations for businesses and policymakers, identifying some central questions that will be driving conversations through […]

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Elizabeth Warren Lost Her Dream Job but Gained a Path to 2020

Elizabeth Warren did not want a goodbye party. She told her aides there would be no grand send-off, no celebration of a mission accomplished. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had been her idea from the start: a new arm of the government, uniquely empowered to police the kinds of loans and financial schemes that led […]

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Time to Build a National Data Broker Registry

It’s time for a national data privacy law, one that gives consumers meaningful rights — to know who has their data, how it is used and how to opt out. It’s in our country’s best interest to have a national standard that, done thoughtfully, benefits both consumers and businesses by providing transparency, uniformity and certainty […]

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We Still Don’t Know How Safe Vaping Is

Health officials have identified one potential cause of the mysterious vaping-related illness that has sickened more than 200 people and claimed at least two lives: vitamin E acetate, an oil found in some marijuana-based vaping products. But there’s still a lot they don’t know. Are other adulterants also involved? Does a combination of vaping ingredients, […]

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The Hospital Treated These Patients. Then It Sued Them.

CARLSBAD, N.M. — The first time Carlsbad Medical Center sued Misti Price, she was newly divorced and working two jobs to support her three young children. The hospital demanded payment in 2012 for what Ms. Price recalled as an emergency room visit for one of her children who has asthma. She could not afford a […]

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The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic’

An 18-year-old showed up in a Long Island emergency room, gasping for breath, vomiting and dizzy. When a doctor asked if the teenager had been vaping, he said no. The patient’s older brother, a police officer, was suspicious. He rummaged through the youth’s room and found hidden vials of marijuana for vaping. “I don’t know […]

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Marriott and Hilton Sued Over ‘Resort Fees,’ Long a Bane for Travelers

The hotel charges known as resort fees are again under scrutiny — this time, from state attorneys general. Travelers loathe the mandatory — and consumer watchdogs say, confusing — fees, which vary by location and by the services they purport to cover. Some hotels charge the fees for Wi-Fi and gym access, while others may […]

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5 Indicted in Identity Theft Scheme That Bilked Millions From Veterans

First, they secretly photographed the Social Security and bank account numbers of thousands of veterans and senior military members on a computer screen at a United States Army base in South Korea. Then, they used the personal information to withdraw or reroute millions of dollars in disability benefits and other payments made to veterans. The […]

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Skip Cash for Equifax Breach and Get Credit Monitoring, F.T.C. Tells Victims

Overwhelmed by requests from consumers seeking compensation related to the giant 2017 data breach at the credit bureau Equifax, the Federal Trade Commission is recommending that people accept free credit monitoring rather than cash. In a blog post published on Wednesday, the agency announced that because of the high volume of requests, the F.T.C. would […]

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Privacy Group Files Legal Challenge to Facebook’s $5 Billion F.T.C. Settlement

A prominent public interest research group is challenging the Federal Trade Commission’s $5 billion privacy settlement with Facebook in court, calling it an unjustified victory for the tech giant and a bad deal for hundreds of millions of consumers who depend on its services. On Friday, the group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, filed a […]

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A $5 Billion Fine for Facebook Won’t Fix Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission issued a $5 billion fine against Facebook on Wednesday. It’s an eye-popping number for sure, one that blows previous fines out of the water. It’s a number that makes for impressive headlines, but it is largely meaningless. Facebook posted $15 billion in revenue last quarter, at which point it announced that […]

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We Need a New Government Agency to Fight Facebook

In just the last month the Federal Trade Commission has brokered settlements with Facebook, Google and Equifax over data breaches and mishandling of consumer information. If you squint, it looks a bit like justice served. For its data management sins Equifax must pay $300 million to a fund for affected consumers with the potential for […]

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