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Guess what we’ve been up to? Protecting your privacy — and more.

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Protecting your privacy is a job we take seriously at the FTC. We’ve already brought hundreds of privacy and data security cases. In total, they affected billions — that’s right, billions — of consumers. There’s more to come, but as we celebrate Data Privacy Day today, we want to share some highlights from our efforts over the past year.  

Holding companies accountable: We brought several cases against companies that didn’t live up to their promises about protecting your privacy. Lifelock agreed to pay $100 million in refunds to settle the FTC’s charges that it made deceptive claims about its identity protection services, and failed to secure its customers’ personal information. We also went against companies and individuals who knowingly exploited people’s personal information, like Craig Brittain, the operator of a “revenge porn” site. Brittain posted sexually explicit photos of women without them knowing it — and then required payment to take them down. The FTC put a stop to it, and under the settlement, Brittain has to destroy any images and information he previously collected.

Workshops on emerging privacy and data security issues: Throughout the year, the FTC brought together some great minds at various workshops we hosted. We looked at topics like the implications of cross-device tracking, and consumer protection issues related to lead generation. And earlier this month we hosted PrivacyCon, a first-of-its kind FTC event examining cutting-edge research and trends in protecting consumer privacy and security. We also published a report on the Internet of Things, a follow-up to a 2013 workshop, with concrete steps businesses can take to secure data when using Internet-connected devices.  

Innovative education campaigns: Every year we work hard to educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities. This year was no exception. Among many other efforts, we launched, a site that provides personalized recovery plans to help victims of identity theft. And we hit the road with Start with Security, our new guidance to help businesses implement data security strategies to protect any personal information they collect from customers or employees.

Why are we telling you all of this? We want you to know that we’re here to make sure businesses protect your privacy, online and off. If a company shared your personal information without your knowledge or consent, we want to know at Here’s more on how to file a privacy-related complaint. And we’ve got tons of helpful tips on how you can protect your privacy and identity.

If you’ve got a couple of minutes, check out our 2015 Privacy and Data Security Report for more details. We look forward to another great year of protecting your privacy, and more. Happy Data Privacy Day!


Thanks for all you do and for your great newsletters that I enjoy reading.

Thank you FTC for Work Hard

Ms. Rich, I received s letter that has your electronic signature on it and would like to email it to you to verify. Is there an FTC Email that I could send it to for verification? Thank you, Susan R

The FTC did not send letters with the electronic signature of Jessica Rich. You can send the letter to Thank you.

Excellent information, kudos to the team who put these messages together.
I would like to see a comparison between the companies who claim to "Restore" identities and those who are referring the victim to your new site to restore their own identity. Target, Home Depot, Anthem and others didn't offer to restore identities....if they did they would have had to work under a Power of Attorney. Why don't you investigate what the team of LegalShield and KROLL are doing to "fully Restore" identities?

Those select cases identified in the FTC Privacy & Data Security Update (2015) Document were "resolved" via "SETTLEMENT"!!! Consumers lose and are often devastated originally, and by FTC's weak-handed Settlement Policy, ARE continuously victimized. Of course, YOU do NOT list the hundreds of Corporate entities and/or individuals that have NOT (and will NOT) become cases to be settled! More striking, this majority shall never own up to their responsibilities; their liabilities; and, most incredible, the FTC shall permit them to escape and remain unaccountable!?!

Say, I'd just like to thank you for all the continuing great work you've done and do.

I work in a community bank and, for the last ten years, we've written and produced a short, weekly program on computer privacy and social engineering issues to help consumers protect themselves. So, I have a bit more of an appreciation, generally, for what you do. As a result of the TV program, we receive regular and constant questions and comments from customers and non-customers alike about social engineering, privacy and hacking and related issues.

Great job.

I really appreciate the newsletters letting us know just what measures are being implemented to increase and guard our security needs. So glad you're able to share this information with us.

I work with seniors in Northeast Florida. Identity theft is very worrisome to them. I point them to this website and advise them to sign up for email alerts to keep them abreast of all that is out there. Thank you for your hard work.
Maybe you can help me with another concern. I urge my folks to be sure they do not carry their SS card in their wallets. Many of our Nation's senior population still do. But, what is even more concerning is that almost ALL of them carry their Medicare card which has their SS number listed. I urge them to simply keep it in a safe place at home, perhaps with their prescriptions that they take. If they see it each day, they can pick it up on their way to a new Dr or facility that requires the card. I personally feel all of these cards should be re-issued with only the last four digits appearing. Thanks for listening and keep up the good work!

Thank you for your comment. Have you seen the FTC's Pass It On campaign, with material designed for active older adults? You can order free copies of factsheets & bookmarks about identity theft, health care scams, charity fraud and more to distribute.

You may also want to print copies of How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure, an article with ideas about protecting you Social Security number and personal information.

It is great being protect it

I helped the FTC even though they don't know I did. Whitepages was breaking the privacy law and I caught them. They were showing people's names with there home phone numbers without there consent. I sent a email to them about it and they immediately made the names private. Your welcome FTC

I would love to have more imfomation. All my email accounts have been hacked. Thanks, Roni

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