FTC could pave the way for direct-to-consumer iCars

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We'd like to buy this directly from Apple, OK?
We'd like to buy this directly from Apple, OK?
Photo: Josh Baré/DeviantArt CC

In a strongly worded blog post Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission derided legislative attempts to prevent consumers from buying cars directly from manufacturers. While this certainly applies to Tesla Motors’ plans to cut out the middleman on auto sales, the government position would cover any company that wishes to sell cars directly to consumers — like, say, Apple.

Can you imagine a day when we can roll into an Apple retail store, flash an Apple Watch and purchase an iCar with Apple Pay?

Radio Shack’s bankruptcy sale could include your private data

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Now on sale - your personal info. Photo: Dig My Data
Now on sale - your personal info. Photo: Dig My Data

It looks like that cheap cassette adaptor I bought for my first iPhone and that universal remote for all my TV gadgets at RadioShack in the last ten years may come back to haunt me.

If you’re like me and you’ve shopped at RadioShack within the last several years, your personal information may be included in the sale of all of the failed electronics retailer’s assets in an auction that concluded Monday of this week.

The sale also includes Radio Shack trademarks, patents, leases, and the court presiding over the matter will likely decide whether Radio Shack can continue its retail operations at a smaller scale.

The reported winner of the bid, Standard General, is also RadioShack’s largest shareholder, making this an odd one. The winning bid still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge, who will have to consider the pending legal challenges to this sale.

Like, for example, whether a retailer that bragged, “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list,” can sell them once bankrupt.

FTC goes after TracFone for ‘unlimited’ data throttling

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This sort of promotion is what got TracFone in trouble. Photo: StraightTalk
This sort of promotion is what got TracFone in trouble. Photo: StraightTalk

Although unlimited data was a promise carriers like AT&T once used to lure potential customers to their network, it doesn’t really exist anymore. Even if you have an unlimited data contract, carriers will throttle your connection once you push a certain data allowance every month.

Yet it’s starting to look like the Federal Trade Commission might be moving against carriers that throttle so-called “unlimited” connections. The FTC just smashed TracFone with a $40 million fine for throttling customers of its unlimited data service.

FTC presses Apple on protections for HealthKit data

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Apple's reputation as a mobile health company is growing. Photo: Apple
FTC wants to know who sees your Health data Photo: Apple

Apple’s HealthKit app for iOS 8 is great at capturing and storing personal health data from tons of sources, but according to a Reuters report, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission wants to know what it plans to do with all of it.

The FTC has reportedly met with from, seeking assurances that sensitive health data scooped up by the Apple Watch and other apps won’t be used without users’ permissions.

FTC finally sues AT&T for throttling unlimited data plans

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AT&T might finally get its comeuppance for throttling data. Photo: Apple.
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.

Here’s AT&T’s response to the lawsuit: