Guess what we’ve been up to? Protecting your privacy — and more.
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 IdentityTheft.gov, 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 ftc.gov/complaint. 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!