Tag Archives: FTC

Republican congressman introduces bill to make net neutrality law

Today, Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced the 21st Century Internet Act to the House of Representatives. This bill seeks to codify the principles of net neutrality into law, taking the decision out of the hands of the Federal Communications Commission. It adds an entirely new section to the Communications Act of 1934, Title VIII, and prohibits blocking, throttling and paid prioritization of legal internet content. – Swapna Krishna, Engadget https://ift.tt/2LfBB9r

Spotify reportedly to go public as direct listing on NYSE

In a direct listing, a company does not raise money by offering new shares for sale, but instead makes existing shares immediately available to the public, meaning employees and investors can buy and sell as they wish. That dispenses with the need for banks to market and sell the company’s shares. Spotify’s decision to side-step underwriters could be a hit to investment banks that rely on fees from marquee listings. – Pallavi Dewan/Lauren Hirsch/Liana Baker & Sophie Sassard, Reuters via VentureBeat http://onvb.co/zb2YkKD

Consumer Watchdog Groups Complain Updated YouTube Kids App Still Exposes Children To Deceptive Ads

photo: Youtube, TechCrunch

YouTube announced changes to its kid-friendly YouTube Kids mobile application this week designed to better educate parents on how the app works and the protections it offers, following a number of complaints, including those to the FTC, from consumer watchdog organizations. But the groups today are saying that YouTube hasn’t gone far enough with the updated YouTube Kids app, calling the changes “superficial.” […] though YouTube is becoming “new TV” in a number of ways, the Kids app it isn’t required to meet the same regulations that apply to the television industry. And groups like Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) take issue with that. – Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Court: FTC can sue companies for failing to protect customer data

photo: SlashGear

Wyndham Worldwide Corp. must face a case against it from the Federal Trade Commission, a US appeals court has ruled. The case is in regards to Wyndham’s alleged failure to protect its customers’ data. In both 2008 and 2009, Wyndham suffered three cyberattacks that ultimately left in excess of 619,000 card accounts vulnerable. Many consumers were then hit with fraudulent charges after the Russian hackers behind the breach disseminated the stolen information. – Brittany Hillen, SlashGear

FTC investigation into Apple heats up, music streaming services hit with subpoenas

Apple’s App Store guidelines call for a 30 percent fee to be charged to any sales by a subscription service that signs up users through an iOS app and uses iAP, which is essentially every paid music streaming service. This forces music streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Tidal — who all charge $9.99 a month for their subscription service on their own sites — to charge users who sign up through their respective iOS apps $12.99 a month to make up for the lost revenue it must pay to Apple. – Micah Singleton, The Verge

FTC Exploring Apple Rules for Streaming Music Rivals in App Store

photo: Apple

U.S. government antitrust regulators are looking into claims about whether Apple’s treatment of rival streaming music apps is illegal under antitrust law, according to three industry sources. […] The Federal Trade Commission is looking at the issue but has not begun a formal investigation, said the three industry sources, who requested anonymity. The agency has had meetings with multiple concerned parties, one source said. The agency meets with companies routinely, and a formal investigation may not materialize. – Diane Bartz & Julia Love, Reuters via Re/code

Judge rejects AT&T claim that FTC can’t stop unlimited data throttling

The Federal Trade Commission sued AT&T in October 2014, saying the company deceived customers by offering unlimited data plans and then throttling data speeds once customers hit certain usage thresholds, such as 3GB or 5GB in a month. AT&T claimed in January that because it is a common carrier, it isn’t subject to FTC jurisdiction. […] “When this suit was filed, AT&T’s mobile data service was not regulated as common carrier activity by the Federal Communications Commission,” [Judge Edward Chen] wrote. “Once the Reclassification Order of the Federal Communications Commission (which now treats mobile data serve as common carrier activity) goes into effect, that will not deprive the FTC of any jurisdiction over past alleged misconduct as asserted in this pending action.” – Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica 

Government Accuses DirecTV Of Deceptive Advertising

Like many pay-TV providers, DirecTV uses low introductory rates for new customers that subsequently increase, by upwards of 70%, after the promotion ends. The satellite service is also fond of throwing in free premium networks like HBO and Showtime for a few months to sweeten the deal. […] The complaint claims that DirecTV automatically enrolls new subscribers into a so-called “negative option continuity plan,” meaning that the customer must tell DirecTV they don’t want to continue with HBO and other promotional add-ons or else they will start being billed for them when the free period ends. – Chris Morran, Consumerist.com
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The FTC is suing AT&T for throttling customers with unlimited data

The Federal Trade Commission, which worked closely with the Federal Communications Commission on the case, alleges that AT&T didn’t clearly articulate its throttling policy in marketing materials. The carrier importantly failed to impart the implications to customers who renewed their contracts, violating the FTC Act when it charged those who canceled their contracts after seeing reduced speeds. AT&T made a more egregious transgression in the seemingly arbitrary way it reduced bandwidth. The FTC estimates that roughly 3.5 million customers were impacted more than 25 million times over several years, many without notice or explanation. Their speed was repeatedly cut to dial-up levels on an average of 12 days out of the month, making services like Web browsing, GPS navigation, and video streaming nearly impossible to use. – Kyle Wiggers,Digital Trends 
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