AT&T might finally get its comeuppance for throttling data. Photo: Apple.
The Federal Trade Commission is finally going after AT&T for throttling customer’s data speeds, by filing an official complaint that the company has lowered speeds on LTE up to 95% on unlimited data plans.
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez expounded on the lawsuit today stating, “the issue is simple: Unlimited means unlimited.” The FTC also alleges that AT&T engaged in unfair or deceptive acts and practices that affected commerce. And they’ve got the numbers to back up their lawsuit, with claims that AT&T illegally capped users’ data speeds at 128 Kbps.
If Apple has to pay the FTC, Bruce Sewell, wants Google to pay up for in-app purchases too.
The FTC came down hard on Apple earlier this year for its lack of parental controls for in-app purchases on iOS, so Apple did what anyone caught red handed would do — they ratted out the competition too.
A week after news of the FTC’s investigation broke, Apple’s SVP of legal, Bruce Sewell sent an email to FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Commissioner Julie Brill, linking to a scathing Consumer Affairs report that claimed Google Play kids could spend money like drunken sailors.
After negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission for months regarding the use of in-app purchases in the App Store, Apple has reached a consent agreement with the agency, according to a company-wide email Tim Cook just sent employees.
Apple’s in-app purchases practices have frustrated regulators since debuting in the App Store back in 2009. In his letter to employees, which was obtained by Re/code, Cook says a host of complaints from customers led Apple to investigate its practices. Last year Apple emailed 28 million App Store customers regarding their in-app purchases and subsequently refunded more than 37,000 in-app purchases that parents claim were unauthorized. The FTC announced that Apple will refund $32.5 million to customers as part of the settlement.
The settlement also requires Apple to change its billing practices by March 31 to ensure customers give their informed consent before billing them for in-app purchases. Apple also has to add an option for customers to remove that consent at any time.
Cook says “it doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled. To us, it smacked of double jeopardy,” but the FTC’s deal isn’t going to require Apple to do anything extra, so they decided to sign it and move on.
Samsung has been fined $340,000 by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission for an Internet campaign against HTC that violated fair trade rules. The South Korean company paid students to praise its own smartphones in online reviews while slamming those of rival HTC.
A free SpongeBob Squarepants game from Nickelodeon has had to be pulled from the App Store following complaints that it violates children’s online privacy rights. SpongeBob Diner Dash asked children for their names and email addresses without parental permission — so that it could fill their inboxes with spam, no doubt — causing an advocacy group to report the app to the Federal Trade Commission.
The Federal Trade Commission released information this morning that because of their misrepresentation to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser, Google has agreed to pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle charges from the FTC.
The $22.5 million fine is the largest in FTC history. Earlier this year an investigation found that Google had placed advertising cookies on the computers of Safari users who visited sites on Google’s DoubleClick ad network. Users were told by Google that they would automatically be opted out of the tracking, but Google kept tracking them anyway.
6 months later, and Google is about to pay the “largest penalty ever levied on a single company” by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Google will pay $22.5 million to settle the charges issued by the FTC, and the code in question has already been disabled by Google in Safari on iOS.
Despite the headlines, everyone's favorite photography app hasn't been gobbled up by Facebook quite yet.
Reports surfaced earlier this month that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had begun a probe into Facebook’s proposed $1 billion acquisition of Instagram. No specific reasons were given for the FTC’s probe, but the acquisition was reportedly stalled due to antitrust concerns. It will likely take regulators up to a year to determine if the deal violates U.S. antitrust law.
Facebook will pay Instagram $200 million if the deal falls through. If the FTC approves the acquisition, Instagram’s two co-founders will net $500 million combined.
Google on its parts always said it had done nothing wrong, and used known functionality in Safari to make sure their advertising cookies were always stored locally on users’ machines, even if their cookie settings were set to private. Looks like that might not have been enough for the FTC, though, who are now looking to start doling out fines to Google over the issue.