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Companies that employ algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in their day-to-day business may face increased attention from federal antitrust and consumer protection regulators in the future. On November 13–14,  the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) addressed this topic in their hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” The panelists, an assembly of industry leaders, academics and enforcers, proposed methods for AI companies to improve data security and to promote industry self-regulation.…
Over a spirited dissent, and in a 3–1 decision issued on November 14, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioners held that 1-800 Contacts violated Section 5 of the FTC Action by entering into settlement agreements with competitors that (1) harmed consumers in the online sale of contact lenses and (2) harmed search engines by artificially reducing the prices paid for online advertisements. The settlement agreements at issue resolved allegations by 1-800 Contacts that its competitors…
Over a spirited dissent, and in a 3-1 decision issued on November 14, the FTC Commissioners held that 1-800 Contacts violated Section 5 of the FTC Action by entering into settlement agreements with competitors that (1) harmed consumers in the online sale of contact lenses and (2) harmed search engines by artificially reducing the prices paid for online advertisements. The settlement agreements at issue resolved allegations by 1-800 Contacts that its competitors were infringing upon…
The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (“NAD”) recently announced updates to its procedures. The change was announced by the Director of the NAD, Laura Brett, at the NAD’s Annual Conference and is the self-regulatory body’s response to a recommendation from the ABA Antitrust Section’s Working Group. The new procedural process is codified in sections 3.8-3.9 of The Advertising Industry’s Process of Voluntary Self-Regulation (available here). In sum, the change comes into…
The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently approved final revisions to its Jewelry Guides (formally, the “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries,” the “Guides”), aimed at helping prevent deception in jewelry marketing. Based on the overall record of FTC review over the past six (6) years, the FTC has approved revisions to the Guides to better align the Guides with Section 5 of the FTC Act by: removing outdated or redundant provisions; guiding…
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is underway, and companies and organizations around the world are analyzing its effects on how they collect, use, store and disclose data. U.S.-based sponsors of sweepstakes, contests, instant win games and other promotions opening entry to or targeting Europeans need to be mindful of the GDPR rules since they are processing personal data by collecting the entries contact information, sending marketing communications, and contacting the winners. To…
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is underway, and companies and organizations around the world are analyzing its effects on how they collect, use, store and disclose data. U.S.-based sponsors of sweepstakes, contests, instant win games and other promotions opening entry to or targeting Europeans need to be mindful of the GDPR rules since they are processing personal data by collecting the entries’ contact information, sending marketing communications and contacting the winners. To…
In enacting the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, Congress determined that the safeguards built into the statute should apply only to children under 13. It sought to focus the restrictions on collection and use of personal information on younger children who are particularly vulnerable to marketing tactics because of their unfamiliarity with advertising and the privacy risks associated with interactive Web services.  In 2013, when the FTC expanded the COPPA Rule, it considered proposing protections…
On May 14, 2018 the Supreme Court of the United States released its decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.  This decision invalidates the key Federal prohibition on State-authorized sports gambling businesses, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).  Under PASPA, except in connection with very narrow exemptions, States could not authorize entities to operate, sponsor, or advertise betting, gambling, or wagering businesses that were based on sporting events.  The Court invalidated…
One of the greatest developments for marketers in 2018 is likely to be the proliferation of new and innovative applications on the blockchain in the context of marketing and promotion, particularly in connection with loyalty programs, ad fraud mitigation, and ongoing CRM activities that combine brand affinity and peer-to-peer influencing.  The potential magnitude of the changes that the promotion marketing industry could see in the next 12 months, especially in the loyalty area, is simultaneously…