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?
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.
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 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.
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.