FTC Imposes a Record $22.5 Million Civil Penalty on Google for Privacy Misrepresentations

On August 9, 2012, the FTC announced that Google agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle charges that it made misrepresentations to users of the Safari Internet browser when Google represented that it would not place cookies or serve targeted ads to those users. In doing so, Google violated an earlier privacy settlement it had with the FTC.

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said “[t]he record setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order. . . “[n]o matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.”

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Fake News Websites Touting Weight Loss Shut Down By FTC

The FTC is intent on stopping online deceptive health claims. It has been especially interested in shutting down sites that make false and misleading dietary claims.

As part of its crackdown efforts, the FTC, along with the State of Connecticut, filed a complaint that sought to stop a specific operation based on Connecticut.

And the FTC has now announced that the parties have agreed to a court order that temporarily halts the allegedly illegal conduct.

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Protecting Personal Information In Borders Bankruptcy Proceeding

Borders has long collected personal information from customers and promised that such information would not be disclosed without consent. In light of that and Borders’ current bankruptcy proceedings, the FTC has sent a letter to the consumer privacy ombudsman overseeing the Borders bankruptcy that seeks the protection of customer personal information.

The FTC’s letter appears prompted by its understanding that customer personal information held by Borders is scheduled to be auctioned and thereafter there will be a sale hearing.

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