Last week, the Footwear Distributers and Retailers of America (FDRA) hosted a briefing on cybersecurity trends in the retail industry. In light of the high-profile data breaches in 2014 — including many at the retail level — the briefing aimed to inform the footwear industry on the nature of today’s cyber threats and the way to most effectively secure private information.
What’s the News?
Focus Education, LLC, a leading provider in the growing market for cognitive improvement products, recently settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that it was misleading consumers through the use of deceptive advertising tactics. Specifically, the FTC took issue with claims that the company’s primary product, the ifocus System, would bring about permanent cognitive improvement in children.
The ifocus System and the FTC Settlement
The centerpiece of Focus Education’s ifocus System is “Jungle Rangers,” an interactive computer game for children. The game features embedded cognitive tasks that are designed to stimulate neural pathways for focus, attention, and concentration. Such games are part of a robust and growing industry: in 2013, Americans spent $1.3 million on “brain games” purported to enhance cognitive functioning.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report this week examining the privacy and security implications of the so-called “Internet of Things.” The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ability of everyday objects to connect to the Internet and to send and receive data. As the number of connected devices has surged in recent years, the FTC has signaled a strong interest in the IoT and repeatedly warned businesses to be mindful of consumer privacy and security when developing new products.
Recent guidance from Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner suggests that Hong Kong may be on the verge of implementing major new restrictions on the cross-border transfer of personal data. The recent guidance concerns a law known as the “Personal (Data) Privacy Ordinance” (PDPO) that has been on the books for 20 years but has never been implemented.
Under the PDPO, the cross-border transfer of personal data from Hong Kong is prohibited unless certain exceptions apply, or the data are transferred to countries with similar data protection standards. Despite being on the books for two decades, the PDPO has never been implemented because of concerns over its potentially disruptive impact on international commerce.
Arent Fox is pleased to announce the expansion of its Government Relations practice with the addition of Senior Government Relations Director Alex Manning. Alex is joining the firm’s Washington, DC office and will advise clients on issues surrounding cybersecurity, privacy, data breaches, tax, trade policy, and immigration.
Below are answers to a few key questions we here at Behind the Scenes asked Alex about his work, and how it will fit into our efforts to address our clients’ data collection and privacy concerns:
This week, as part of a strategic effort to build momentum toward next week’s State of the Union address to Congress, President Barack Obama announced legislative proposals and executive actions to improve cybersecurity. The Obama Administration’s broad array of policy proposals could have a significant impact on how companies and other entities across all sectors of the economy collect and monetize customer data, share threat information, and notify consumers in the event of a data breach. If a company or similar entity stores customer data, the breadth of the proposed initiatives means that they are highly likely to affect such an organization.
On January 6, 2015, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Edith Ramirez delivered a speech discussing best practices for companies in the emerging market of the “Internet of Things,” which refers to the wireless interconnectivity of everyday devices, from home appliances to medical devices. Such devices are quickly becoming pervasive: In 2015, the number of interconnected devices worldwide is expected to reach 25 billion.
What’s the News?
TRUSTe, Inc., a major provider of privacy certifications for online businesses, recently settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that it has been engaging in deceptive business practices. The FTC alleged that TRUSTe was misrepresenting the frequency of its recertification reviews of participating businesses, as well as its own corporate status. News of the settlement serves as a reminder to online businesses of the need to ensure compliance with applicable privacy laws and industry best practices.
What’s the News?
In October 2014, California Attorney General Kamala Harris released the California Data Breach Report, the state’s most recent analysis of data security threats facing businesses and consumers. The Report, which notes a dramatic 28 percent increase in data breaches in California in 2013, serves as a reminder to businesses nationwide of the constant threat of increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals — and the need for new and better approaches to safeguarding sensitive information.
ABOUT ARENT FOX LLP
Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.