Photo of Kate M. Growley, CIPP/G, CIPP/US

Kate Smartphone Keyboard

Just in time for the holiday shopping rush, “Hello Barbie” has hit the shelves.  This Barbie actually talks back to its playmates and is the latest high-tech version of the iconic doll. The secret to this innovation? The Internet. Toymaker Mattel partnered with software firm ToyTalk to equip the doll with a microphone, voice-recognition, and cloud-based intelligence to give Barbie “call-and-respond” functionality. (Think Siri talking through Barbie.) Hello Barbie is yet another example Continue Reading Hello Barbie (and Lawsuit)

The Third Circuit’s Monday decision in FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide confirmed the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) statutory authority to pursue enforcement actions for allegedly “unfair” data security practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act. Many believe that the decision will embolden the FTC to continue aggressively regulating what it considers to be unreasonable data security practices. Click for a complete analysis of the decision and its implications.

The CapitolLast week, the Senate broke Congressional silence by passing Resolution 101 – enunciating the chamber’s position on how the country should approach the burgeoning technology of the “Internet of Things,” or what’s more commonly known as the “IoT.” Amidst a series of recent hearings in both the House and the Senate, the IoT industry and others have been keenly eyeing Capitol Hill for hints at whether and to what extent it may regulate the new technology. Although the Resolution did not stake out a definitive position on the question, it seemed to imply that a light-touch – for now – may be the best course of action. The Senate’s Resolution emphasized the many benefits to be realized through the IoT and relegated oft-cited privacy concerns to a quick reference that the U.S. should strive to avoid the technology’s “misuse.” Industry should nonetheless keep its finger on the pulse of IoT legislative and executive developments. The Resolution is, of course, the opinion of only one half of the Legislature, and federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission have already been exercising independent authority to enforce consumer protection in the IoT space. Stay tuned.

Image courtesy of Flickr by of d.aniela.

The rise of social media for contests and marketing campaigns has captured the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), particularly campaigns that provide for contest entry based on what amounts to social media endorsements. “Like Company XYZ now to enter!” The FTC is taking stock and beginning to weigh in on this relatively recent practice. Just ask Cole Haan. Late last month, the FTC sent the popular shoemaker a letter marking the end of its investigation into a marketing campaign that turned on “pinning” Cole Haan products for entry into a contest. In it, the FTC concluded that Cole Haan needed to do more to disclose the connection between the contestants’ “pins” and the company’s contest.

It all started last year when Cole Haan launched its Wandering Sole marketing campaign. Cole Haan encouraged consumers to create Pinterest boards that included five shoe images from Cole Haan’s own Pinterest board and another five images of the contestants’ favorite places to wander. Whoever created the board that the company dubbed most creative would win a $1,000 shopping spree. To identify the contestants, Cole Haan asked that the Pinterest users include the hashtag #WanderingSole in the description of their images.
Continue Reading The FTC “Pins” Cole Haan on Pinterest Campaign: Disclosure of Contest Driving Endorsement of Products Required