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Federal Trade Commission

  1. Revenge Pornographer Demands Google Erase His Past; Is Human Embodiment of Tiny Violin

    He's particularly concerned about some unauthorized photos.

    Craig Brittain, the man who once boasted that his revenge porn site offered “a higher level of hatred" than its 'competitors' and who posted photos of over 1,000 people throughout his time as the owner of, has filed a complaint against Google asking that "all unauthorized photos of me and other related information" be taken down.

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  2. App Kids: Developers are Lying About Advertising to Children

    Earlier this year the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) issued a report titled Mobile Apps for Kids: Current Privacy Disclosures are Disappointing (cringe-inducing emphasis theirs). They surveyed apps available from both iOS and Android platforms to see how available things like privacy practices were prior to downloading, and it's probably not shocking that their findings were disappointing, so the FTC told everyone involved to straighten up. Today the FTC released the findings of a follow-up study to see how things are improving. In short: They're not. In fact, the findings of the new report are even worse than the old one. Stay classy, app developers.

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  3. FTC Offers $50,000 for Solution to Robocalls, Not Using Phones Probably Out

    The Federal Trade Commission, like most rational human beings, is not a fan of robocalls. Those unsolicited prerecorded telemarketer calls are just about the worst, and the FTC knows it. Unfortunately, they haven't really been able to curb the constant flow of dinner-interrupting calls. They're now going to offer a $50,000 bounty to the person or team that can stop them.

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  4. Sketchy Rent-to-Own Laptops Spied on Users, Took Photographs of Sexual Encounters

    To preface the rest of this story, let's just state once and for all that nearly all rent-to-own programs are sketchy, okay? There's really nothing good about them, unless it's the only option available. The Federal Trade Commission has only further reinforced this fact by revealing that several shady rent-to-own companies were spying on those using their laptops. They specifically installed spyware that could perform functions like taking pictures via the webcam and logging keystrokes.

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  5. Facebook Didn’t Actually Verify Verified Apps, Says FTC

    Facebook hasn't exactly been doing so hot lately, what with their 83 million fake users and everything. A recent investigation by the United States Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, includes interesting allegations on some of the company's shadier activities back in 2009. Back in the day, developers could pay a premium to submit their applications for a verification process that the FTC alleges was nothing more than what Facebook would typically do for any regular application.

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  6. FTC Hits Google With $22.5 Million Fine, Largest in Agency History

    The Federal Trade Commission has, in the last few years, become proponents of Internet privacy in the name of consumer protection. Which is why when it was reported that Google was tricking Safari into accepting cookies from websites, and in doing s0 monitoring their movements across the web, the agency leapt into action. Now, reports indicate that Google has agreed to pay the largest fine in FTC history: $22.5 million.

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  7. Twitter Says It’s Gathering Information About Your Web Browsing, but in a Good Way

    Yesterday, Twitter unveiled its system for suggesting accounts for new and current users to follow. These s0-called "tailored suggestions" are designed to cut through the glut of people, companies, and NASA rovers currently on Twitter. In order to provide those tailored results, Twitter has disclosed that it will use information about your browsing habits culled from sites you and others visit. However, it has also said it's going to comply with the Federal Trade Commission's Do Not Track initiative. Here's how it works, and how to turn it off.

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  8. Feds Go After Those Irritating Weight-Loss Ads

    The Federal Trade Comission has filed a whopping 10 lawsuits against some of the companies responsible for the ubiquitous Internet ads selling fruit-based diet products, according to the Washington Post. Trust me, you've seen these ads around. They all feature shoddily animated bellies oscillating back and forth from fat to thin, and promising a "tiny belly" or "one tip" for weight loss. Clicking on such an ad usually leads to a faux-news website which in turn leads to another site where customers can order weight loss products derived from acai berries or mangos. Of course, it's a scam. Many of the ads sell products from companies like HCG Ultra Lean Plus, using a formula copied by many other marketers. Placing an order for a "free" sample through one of these sites usually leads to something much worse. From the Washington Post:

    Someone who orders a sample offered by one hCG marketer, for example, is technically agreeing to pay an additional $79.99 for another shipment of the product two weeks later, and another $79.99 six weeks after that, according to the disclaimer. The charges and the product keep coming until the buyer calls a toll-free number to cancel.
    The ads were made by a cadre of companies operating independently of each other and spending around $10 million in total to place the ads. All told, this seems to have brought in billions of pageviews for the advertisers, which the FTC claims led to huge profits. 

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  9. FTC Prepares to Subpoena Google in Antitrust Investigation [UPDATED]

    The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Trade Commission is preparing to serve subpoena papers to search giant Google and begin a federal anitrust probe into the company. If the probe goes forward, this could be Google's biggest legal challenge to date. The investigation is expected to center around Google's promotional search and advertising practices. Services like Kayak and Microsoft say that Google holds their sites to a higher standard for search position than Google's own pages, routing users to Google's own products unfairly. Google maintains that it has done nothing wrong, and that it simply provides the best search results regardless of their source. The WSJ points out that while it is not illegal in the US to operate a monopoly, companies can be prosecuted for abusing or  illegally obtaining one.

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  10. Video Game Retailers Rate Best at Not Selling Mature Games to Minors

    As the result of a recent undercover shopper study, the Federal Trade Commission has declared video game retailers the best at not selling mature-rated content to minors. The FTC found that only 13% of minors were able to purchase content rated Mature (ages 17 and up) by the ESRB. Of the games retailers secretly shopped, GameStop performed the best, only allowing 8% of minors to purchase an M-rated game, with Target second at 9% and KMart third at 10%. Compared to other forms of media, such as movies and music, the video game retailers did an even better job: The FTC found that 33% of minors were able to buy an R-rated movie, 38% were able to rent an R-rated movie, and 68% were able to buy music with a parental advisory warning label. (USA Today via GamesRadar)

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