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High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

  • 12
  • January
  • 2018

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FTC Reaches First COPPA Settlement With Connected Toy Manufacturer

Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had reached a settlement with VTech Electronics Limited, a Chinese manufacturer of electronic learning toys, and its North American subsidiary over charges that VTech violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”), a rule designed to “strengthen kids’ privacy protections and give parents greater control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13.” The FTC’s complaint centered on three web-based platforms VTech created and maintained to support its numerous connected toys. The platforms are the Learning Lodge Navigator, a platform akin to Apple’s App Store that allows users to download games and content to their VTech devices; Kid Connect, a children’s messaging app for smart phones; and Planet VTech, an online platform that allows online game play and messaging between users. Each of these products allowed for children to share personal information or required registration from parents, including information such as a child’s name and age. In some instances, VTech stated that the collected information would be encrypted, which it was not.

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AI is Here, Is Your Company Ready? (Hint: No)
First published by The National Law Journal

In this article, Danny Tobey discusses the importance of companies and their legal counsel preparing for the impact of AI. From questioning “What Happens to Tort Law” to discussing how AI could challenge professional judgment and create new privacy issues, the message is clear: Companies and their legal teams should be thinking about the changes AI will bring and how to manage associated risks as AI continues to evolve.

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  • 26
  • October
  • 2017

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The FTC Issues Clarifications on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and Voice Recordings

On October 23, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission released a new policy enforcement statement regarding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”), a rule designed to “strengthen kids’ privacy protections and give parents greater control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13.” The FTC’s new policy statement clarifies that the Commission will not require online providers and websites to acquire parental consent for the recording of a child’s voice for the purpose of replacing written words — such as for a command or a search done using a home voice control system. For example, the FTC will not enforce if a home voice control system records a child’s voice when they ask a question or give a request. This clarification is not without limit, as we explain here.

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Something for Everyone: Businesses Across All Industries Can Learn from FTC's "Stick with Security" Guidance on Data Security Best Practices

As a dynamic follow-up to its “Start with Security” guide, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) debuted in July its “Stick with Security” initiative to provide continued guidance to businesses on sound security practices. The initiative has kicked off with a series of Friday blog posts, each emphasizing a security best practice drawn from the FTC’s closed investigations, its law enforcement actions, and questions it has received from businesses. In the first blog post, published July 21, 2017, the FTC revealed some of the themes that resulted in the FTC not taking law enforcement action.

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Uber Settles with the FTC, Tying Itself to the Agency For Up To 20 Years

On August 15, 2017, three years after it faced backlash from the media, Uber has settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over allegations that despite its representations, the company failed to secure customer data and failed to monitor employee access to that data, thus engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a). We cannot explain why it took three years for the decision to be issued. Regardless, the decision is a reminder that parties must accurately describe their security programs, must take reasonable and appropriate steps to protect personal information, and must test the efficacy of their privacy programs.

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The House Passed the First-Ever Autonomous Vehicles Bill, “SELF DRIVE Act” — Cruising Down the Road to the Senate

On September 6, 2017, the House took a major step toward enacting what could become the first-ever federal law to regulate autonomous vehicles. The Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act or the “SELF DRIVE Act” (H.R. 3388), introduced earlier by the House on July 25, 2017, and approved unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 27, 2017, was passed by voice vote immediately after the lawmakers came back from their summer recess. This fast-tracking shows that this bill is uncontroversial and bipartisan, which bodes well for autonomous vehicles and automakers and tech companies.

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Contributors

Jason A. Levine

Jason A. Levine Partner

Jennifer C. Chen

Jennifer C. Chen Partner

Devika Kornbacher

Devika Kornbacher Partner

Danny Tobey

Danny Tobey Partner

William R. Vigdor

William R. Vigdor Partner

Marc A. Fuller

Marc A. Fuller Counsel

John Andren

John Andren Associate

Thomas W. Bohnett

Thomas W. Bohnett Associate

Megan Coker

Megan Coker Associate

Caroline Colpoys

Caroline Colpoys

Trey Hebert

Trey Hebert Associate

Keeney, Jeremy C.

Jeremy C. Keeney Associate

Howard Lithaw Lim Associate

Kimberly R. McCoy

Kimberly R. McCoy Senior Associate

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre

Elizabeth Krabill McIntyre Senior Associate

David C. Smith

David C. Smith Senior Associate

Janice Ta

Janice Ta Senior Associate

Margaret D. Terwey

Margaret Dunlay Terwey Associate

Ryan B. Will

Ryan Will Associate

Siho (Scott) Yoo

Siho (Scott) Yoo Senior Associate