Federal Trade Commission.
Proposed consent agreement; request for comment.
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the complaint and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.
Comments must be received on or before October 9, 2019.
Interested parties may file comments online or on paper, by following the instructions in the Request for Comment part of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. Write: “Thru, Inc.; File No. 182 3196” on your comment, and file your comment online at https://www.regulations.gov by following the instructions on the web-based form. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580, or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Start Printed Page 47294Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Robin Wetherill (202-326-2220), Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580.
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Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 2.34, 16 CFR 2.34, notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for September 3, 2019), on the World Wide Web, at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/commission-actions.
You can file a comment online or on paper. For the Commission to consider your comment, we must receive it on or before October 9, 2019. Write “Thru, Inc.; File No. 182 3196” on your comment. Your comment—including your name and your state—will be placed on the public record of this proceeding, including, to the extent practicable, on the https://www.regulations.gov website.
Postal mail addressed to the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security screening. As a result, we encourage you to submit your comments online through the https://www.regulations.gov website.
If you prefer to file your comment on paper, write “Thru, Inc.; File No. 182 3196” on your comment and on the envelope, and mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20580; or deliver your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Constitution Center, 400 7th Street SW, 5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex D), Washington, DC 20024. If possible, submit your paper comment to the Commission by courier or overnight service.
Because your comment will be placed on the publicly accessible website at https://www.regulations.gov, you are solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive or confidential information. In particular, your comment should not include any sensitive personal information, such as your or anyone else's Social Security number; date of birth; driver's license number or other state identification number, or foreign country equivalent; passport number; financial account number; or credit or debit card number. You are also solely responsible for making sure that your comment does not include any sensitive health information, such as medical records or other individually identifiable health information. In addition, your comment should not include any “trade secret or any commercial or financial information which . . . is privileged or confidential”—as provided by Section 6(f) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 46(f), and FTC Rule 4.10(a)(2), 16 CFR 4.10(a)(2)—including in particular competitively sensitive information such as costs, sales statistics, inventories, formulas, patterns, devices, manufacturing processes, or customer names.
Comments containing material for which confidential treatment is requested must be filed in paper form, must be clearly labeled “Confidential,” and must comply with FTC Rule 4.9(c). In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. See FTC Rule 4.9(c). Your comment will be kept confidential only if the General Counsel grants your request in accordance with the law and the public interest. Once your comment has been posted on the public FTC website—as legally required by FTC Rule 4.9(b)—we cannot redact or remove your comment from the FTC website, unless you submit a confidentiality request that meets the requirements for such treatment under FTC Rule 4.9(c), and the General Counsel grants that request.
Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission”) has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Thru, Inc. (“Thru” or “Respondent”).
The proposed consent order (“proposed order”) has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement and take appropriate action or make final the agreement's proposed order.
This matter concerns alleged false or misleading representations that Thru made concerning its participation in the Privacy Shield frameworks agreed upon by the U.S. and, respectively, the European Union (“EU”) and the Swiss Federation. The Privacy Shield frameworks allow U.S. companies to receive personal data transferred from the EU and Switzerland without violating EU or Swiss law. The frameworks consist of a set of principles and related requirements that have been deemed by the European Commission and the Swiss authorities as providing “adequate” privacy protection. The principles include notice; choice; accountability for onward transfer; security; data integrity and purpose limitation; access; and recourse, enforcement, and liability. The related requirements include, for example, securing an independent recourse mechanism to handle any disputes about how the company handles information about EU citizens.
To participate in the frameworks, a company must comply with the Privacy Shield principles and self-certify that compliance to the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”). Commerce reviews companies' self-certification applications and maintains a public website, https://www.privacyshield.gov/list, where it posts the names of companies who have completed the requirements for certification. Companies are required to recertify every year in order to continue benefitting from Privacy Shield.
The Commission's proposed one-count complaint alleges that Respondent violated Section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission Act. Specifically, the proposed complaint alleges that Respondent engaged in a deceptive act or practice by falsely representing that it was a certified participant in the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks.
Part I of the proposed order prohibits the company from making misrepresentations about its membership in any privacy or security program sponsored by the government or any other self-regulatory or standard-setting organization, including, but not limited to, the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield framework and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield framework.
Parts II through V of the proposed order are reporting and compliance provisions. Part II requires acknowledgement of the order and dissemination of the order now and in the future to persons with responsibilities relating to the subject matter of the order. Part III ensures notification to the FTC of changes in corporate status and mandates that the company submit an initial compliance report to the FTC. Part IV requires the company to create certain documents relating to its compliance with the order for twenty (20) years and to retain those documents for a five-year period. Part V mandates that the company make available to the FTC information or subsequent compliance reports, as requested.
Part VI is a provision “sun-setting” the order after twenty (20) years, with certain exceptions.
The purpose of this analysis is to aid public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the complaint or proposed order, or to modify in any way the proposed order's terms.
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By direction of the Commission.
April J. Tabor,
[FR Doc. 2019-19396 Filed 9-6-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-P