Late last year Sony announced that it had settled with the Federal Trade Commission over claims that it falsely advertised the capabilities of its PS Vita. From late 2011 to early 2012. As part of the settlement SCEA agreed to provide refunds to Vita customers who purchased the device before June 1, 2012. They will dole out a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 voucher for select games and services.
Ars Technica reports that a federal judge has ruled that the Federal Trade Commission does have jurisdiction to sue AT&T for allegedly throttling customers. In its argument before the federal court, AT&T - who hates net neutrality and didn't want to be classified as a common carrier - said that the FTC did not have jurisdiction to take it to court because it is... a common carrier.
Here's a disconcerting report from Ars Technica about how AT&T is still throttling mobile unlimited data plan customers and the FCC probably won't do much to stop them - at least for now. And all of this is after the fact that the FCC put tighter restrictions on throttling in its late February meeting. It did not however specifically use the term "ban."
The FCC seems gung ho about reclassifying broadband and mobile internet providers as common carriers in order to enforce net neutrality rules but it seems municipal broadband providers want none of that.
Google is mailing customers of its Android app store Google Play to let them know that if they made an in-app purchase between March 1, 2011, and November 18, 2014 they may be eligible for a refund. The email to customers is being prompted by a settlement between Google and the Federal Trade Commission over children making in-app purchases without their parents' consent or permission. Apple made a similar settlement with the FTC over in-app purchases.
Sony Computer Entertainment America has settled a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over claims that it falsely advertised the capabilities of its PS Vita, according to Joystiq. From late 2011 to early 2012. As part of the settlement SCEA has agreed to provide refunds to Vita customers who purchased the device before June 1, 2012. They will dole out a $25 cash or credit refund, or a $50 voucher for select games and services.
In an interview with CSPAN, Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican commissioner with the Federal Trade Commission says that the FCC's plans to reclassify broadband as a "common carrier" under Title II of the Telecommunications Act (as part of a tweak to make net neutrality rules enforceable) would strip the agency of its ability to enforce consumer protection rules.
According to this VentureBeat report, the federal government is beginning to crack down on companies that are allegedly violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a statement on its blog this week announcing a $450,000 settlement with Yelp for collecting the personal information (names and other personal identifiers) of children in violation of COPPA.
The Federal Trade Commission announced that Google has agreed to pay $19 million to consumers (parents) whose children made purchases through Google Play without their express consent or permission. The FTC alleged that Google was unfairly billing account holders on its Google Play market for Android-based mobile and tablet devices by not getting express authorization from parents when kids bought things both in the store and within apps.
Amazon said in June that it would fight the Federal Trade Commission if it tried to make it settle complaints from parents who claim they did not authorize purchases for their children on various apps in its store. Apple settled a lawsuit in January to the tune of $32.5 million, but Amazon wrote a letter to the FTC last month telling them that they would not settle because they have been making changes to how children have access to purchasing power within its store and the apps that appear in it.
In January of this year Apple was the first company to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over Apple’s handling of in-app purchases. The company agreed to make it harder for children to purchase in-game content and apps without the express consent of parents or guardians, and Apple agreed to pay out $32.5 million to parents affected by its lax policy - and if the payouts were less than that amount the balance of the settlement would go to the FTC.
Amazon is refusing to comply with a Federal Trade Commission settlement plan related to in-app purchases. Apple settled for $32.5 million in refunds to parents who claim they were billed for games and in-app content their children were playing on their mobile or tablet devices without their express consent. Apple was also ordered to change its billing practices to make sure that in-app purchases require consent from parents or device owners before transactions could be completed.
Apple has laid out the steps consumers need to take in order to get a refund for unapproved in-app purchases in iOS apps, Polygon reports. The refund process is part of the company's efforts to fulfill its part in a recent $32.5 million settlement of a federal complaint.
Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) has come out strongly against a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, Sen. Franken said that there is already not enough competition in this [we assume he means broadband and cable television] space and this deal goes in the wrong direction. He also said that he is thinks this deal will increase cable prices and decreased the quality of service for Time Warner Cable customers.
Comcast is expected to announce a deal worth $44 billion to buy out rival cable operator Time Warner Cable today, according to a Bloomberg report. The company will reportedly announce today that it plans to pay $159 a share to Time Warner Stock holders.
While it's fun watching "Clueless Gamer," Conan O’Brien's regular segment where he plays video games and makes witty comments for his show on TBS, apparently it can cost a developer or publisher a lot of money to get air time on the show. While not everyone pays to be on the show, about a quarter of the products featured on the segment have to pay some sort of fee. The show does not disclose this fact either.
While Microsoft (through a marketing partnership with Machinima) and Electronic Arts (through its "Ronku" marketing program) paying content creators to promote its games to followers on YouTube without disclosing the relationship may be unethical, neither company is breaking the law and it is unlikely that anyone involved could be fined for not disclosing a relationship according to what a Federal Trade Commission spokesperson tells Polygon.
The Federal Trade Commission ruled this week that Apple must refund at least $32.5 million to parents whose children made in-app purchases on iOS devices without their consent. In its ruling, the agency said that Apple did not do enough to ensure purchases made by children were knowingly authorized by their parents. The FTC also highlighted a practice it did not like: allowing users to enter their passwords once for a single purchase then continue to make purchases throughout a 15-minute window.
The Entertainment Software Rating Board announced a new privacy seal certification program called ESRB Privacy Certified. The new program offers expanded services to help companies manage their mobile app privacy practices. The program’s services include helping companies achieve compliance with the recently revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule, which the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires by July 1st.
This week the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will announce plans to start an investigation into the questionable practices employed by patent trolls, according to a New York Times report. The investigation will be announced at a conference headed up by FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
On this week's show we go live on Google + for a lengthy (video) discussion on the "RPG Camp" Kickstarter controversy, the results of the FTC's latest Secret Shopper Survey to test ratings enforcement at retail, Sega's decision to stop pulling Shining Force videos from YouTube and a whole lot more. Download Episode 46 now: SuperPAC Episode 46 (1 hour, 34 minutes) 240.0 MB.
The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) today applauded the efforts of retailers in the United States for continuing to show record levels of enforcement of video game and DVD ratings. The praise comes in response to the results of a Federal Trade Commission survey released today. That survey found that video game retailers turned away unaccompanied 13- to 16-year-olds who attempted to purchase Mature-rated games 87 percent of the time and turned away under-aged children who attempted to purchase R-rated or unrated DVDs 70 percent of the time.
The Federal Trade Commission today released the results of its "Secret Shopper Survey" to test whether retailers were doing their part to keep adult entertainment out of the hands of children. The results of that survey are here, but the take-away is that retailers are continuing to self-police - without government intervention, I might add - just who buys video games, music and other entertainment.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) chairman Jon Leibowitz announced that he would be leaving the government watchdog agency in mid-February. Leibowitz served as chairman for four years, dealing with everything from Google's search to violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protections Act (COPPA) against social network Path, and the battle between Motorola and Microsoft over patents. As for where Leibowitz goes from here we do not know - but we hope he doesn't join a corporation he used to regulate or a lobbying group that will seek favors from the FTC.
As expected, Google has backed off of its International Trade Commission complaint against Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, which uses one of its video compression patents. The company had sought to stop the sale of the system in the United States while Microsoft and its subsidiary Motorola duked it out in court over royalty payments related to FRAND patents. But earlier in the week the Federal Trade Commission stepped into the fight, ordering Google to take a more reasonable approach to "essential patents."
On Friday after the Federal Trade Commission issued an order on Google's Motorola patents and how the subsidiary needed to stop charging high royalties on FRAND patents it holds, Microsoft went into action.
The Federal Trade Commission issued a Consent Order (PDF) this week forbidding Google from charging a lot of money for certain critical patents it gained when it bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in May 2012. This is good news for both Apple and Microsoft, but particularly for Microsoft because (according to Microsoft) Motorola Mobility wanted to charge $4 billion a year in royalties for patents Motorola holds on Wi-Fi and video technology.