Inside these posts: FTC

Visit our Filed page for categories. To browse by specific topic, see our Inside page. For a list of companies covered on this site, visit our Companies page.


FTC, Justice Dept. mull Google antitrust probe

U.S. antitrust regulators may investigate Google’s dominance of the Web search industry, and will settle on the agency to launch a probe once scrutiny into the company’s plan to buy ITA software is done, a source told Reuters on Tuesday. Get the full story »

Feds probe data collection by smartphone apps

Music player Pandora's smartphone app for both iPhones (above) and Androids transmitted information about a user's age, gender, and location. (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey are investigating whether numerous smartphone applications illegally obtained or transmitted information about their users without proper disclosures, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The criminal investigation is examining whether the app makers fully described to users the types of data they collected and why they needed the information — such as a user’s location or a unique identifier for the phone — the person familiar with the matter said. Collecting information about a user without proper notice or authorization could violate a federal computer-fraud law. Get the full story »

Toys R Us to pay $1.3M antitrust penalty

A Toys R Us in Denver. (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

Privately-held Toys R Us has agreed to pay a $1.3 million penalty for violating a 1998 order that barred it from pushing suppliers to refuse to sell to competitors or from urging limits to those sales, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

The FTC said in a complaint that Toys R Us subsidiary Babies R Us had asked suppliers what they were charging discounters and complained to them about discounts that other retailers were giving consumers, the FTC said. Get the full story »

Microsoft adds do-not-track tool to Explorer

Ryan Gavin, senior director of Internet Explorer for Microsoft, shows IE9 last month in in San Francisco. (Reuters)

A new version of Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer to be released Tuesday will be the first major Web browser to include a do-not-track tool that helps people keep their online habits from being monitored. Get the full story »

FTC looks into football helmets’ safety claims

The chairman of the Federal Trade Commission says his agency is looking into marketing claims that some football helmets can help reduce concussions, responding to a senator who wants the FTC to investigate what he called “misleading safety claims and deceptive practices” in the sale of new helmets and reconditioning of used ones.

“We agree that these are serious concerns, and will determine what action by this agency may be appropriate,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz wrote to Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). Get the full story »

FTC clears Icahn takeover of Dynegy

Carl Icahn’s $665 million cash takeover of power producer Dynegy Inc. received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday.

The billionaire investor’s deal follows a failed bid by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP. Icahn, Dynegy’s largest shareholder, opposed the $5 per share deal arguing it undervalued the company. Get the full story »

Agency calls for online privacy bill of rights

The Commerce Department is calling for the creation of a “privacy bill of rights” for Internet users to set ground rules for companies that collect consumer data online and use that information for marketing and other purposes.

The proposal, outlined in a Commerce Department report Thursday, is intended to address growing unease about the vast amounts of personal information that companies are scooping up on the Net — from Web browsing habits to smart phone locations to Facebook preferences. That data is often mined to target advertising. Get the full story »

PR firm settles FTC suit over iTunes game reviews

The Federal Trade Commission said Friday that it has settled charges that a California public-relations firm posted fake video game reviews on Apple Inc.’s  iTunes Store.

According to an FTC complaint, employees of California-based Reverb Communications Inc. allegedly engaged in deceptive online advertising by having paid employees and company managers pose as consumers and write glowing video game reviews of clients’ games. Get the full story »

Marketers behind health sites, privacy groups warn

Web sites offering a sense of community to people with diseases or ailments often are created by marketers who fail to disclose that they are sharing data about the users, a complaint filed with U.S. regulators charged on Tuesday.

Four pro-privacy groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, detailing a number of techniques marketers use to identify potential purchasers of particular medications. Get the full story »

FTC clears R.R. Donnelley’s acquisition of Browne

R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co. said it has been told by the Federal Trade Commission that the agency’s investigation of the Chicago-based company’s proposed acquisition of Bowne & Co. has been closed and that it plans no further action.

The companies say they soon expect to complete the $481 million deal, which was announced in February.

Donnelley is a communications company founded 146 years ago. Based in New York, Bowne’s business lines include preparing and filing regulatory and shareholder communications online and in print.

FTC rule cracks down on mortgage mod outfits

Hoping to cut down on fraud and scams tied to the mortgage crisis, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is tightening rules for companies and attorneys who perform loan modification and foreclosure rescue services. Get the full story »

Senator: Four Loko, Joose will be banned soon

Four Loko, Joose and other caffeinated alcoholic drinks will effectively be banned soon by federal regulators due to rising concerns that they are dangerous, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer announced Tuesday. Get the full story »

No more up-front fees for debt fixers

Companies that claim to settle your debts for less than you owe can no longer charge up-front fees for their services. Instead, they have to wait to collect from consumers until they actually deliver on the promise.

The new rule goes into effect Wednesday and is part of the Federal Trade Commission’s effort to clamp down on deceptive debt-settlement practices. Get the full story »

FTC sets down rules on ‘eco’ advertising

Advertisers should steer clear of saying their products are “environmentally friendly” or “eco-friendly,” the Federal Trade Commission said in proposed rules put out Wednesday.

The agency, however, did not weigh in on other terms — “sustainable,” “natural” and “organic” — because they are the purview of the Agriculture Department. Get the full story »

FTC shuts down TV ‘tax relief’ outfit

By Gregory Karp | American Tax Relief LLC, which claims in TV ads that it can reduce your tax debt, has been shut down after bilking consumers nationwide out of more than $60 million, the Federal Trade Commission alleged Wednesday.

“For people having a tough time paying their taxes, the last thing they need is to lose more money to a fraud,” said David C. Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Get the full story »