Advertising News & Analysis - February 23, 2012

7 min


White House Announces “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights”

The White House unveiled a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” on February 23, 2012 as part of a comprehensive blueprint to improve consumers’ online privacy protections and ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth. The plan will guide efforts to give users more control over how their personal information is used on the Internet and to help businesses maintain consumer trust and grow in the rapidly changing digital environment.

The Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights provides a baseline of clear protections for consumers and greater certainty for businesses. The rights are:

  • Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data organizations collect from them and how they use it.
  • Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable information about privacy and security practices.
  • Respect for Context: Consumers have a right to expect that organizations will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
  • Security: Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
  • Access and Accuracy: Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data are inaccurate.
  • Focused Collection: Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
  • Accountability: Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

In the coming weeks, the Commerce Department will convene stakeholders – including companies, privacy and consumer advocates, technical experts, international partners, and academics – to establish specific practices or codes of conduct that implement the general principles in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

The Administration plans to work with Congress to develop legislation based on the Bill of Rights to extend baseline privacy protections to commercial sectors that existing federal privacy laws do not cover.

Venable partner Stuart P. Ingis delivered remarks on behalf of the Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of the leading national advertising and marketing trade groups, during the White House event.

Go here to read the White House’s press release.

Go here to read the text of the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

FTC Slams the Door on Unsubstantiated “Green” Window Claims

Under settlements announced by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) on February 22, five companies marketing replacement windows are required to stop making exaggerated and/or unsupported claims about the energy efficiency of the windows the companies sell and the savings consumers may realize by having the windows installed. The settlements are part of a broader effort by the FTC to ensure environmental, or “green,” claims are substantiated by scientific evidence.

The FTC's complaints allege the five companies, (Gorell Enterprises, Inc., Long Fence & Home, LLLP, Serious Energy, Inc., THV Holdings LLC and Winchester Industries) engaged in deceptive practices by making unsupported energy efficiency and money-savings claims about replacement windows the companies marketed.

The proposed settlements each have two parts. Part I prohibits each company from making unsubstantiated claims about its windows that include a specified amount or percentage of energy savings, or reduction in consumers’ heating or cooling costs, or a guarantee or pledge that consumers who replace their windows will achieve such energy savings. Under the settlement, the marketers may make such claims only if they have “competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate that all or almost all consumers are likely to achieve the maximum savings claimed."

Part II prohibits each company from making unsubstantiated claims that a specific number or percentage of consumers who replace their windows will achieve energy savings or reduced heating or cooling costs; or claims about energy consumption, energy costs, heating and cooling costs, or other insulating properties or energy-related efficacy.

In addition, if the company claims or guarantees that consumers will achieve specific energy savings or reduced heating or cooling costs under certain circumstances, those circumstances must be prominently disclosed near where the claim or guarantee is made.

Lastly, all claims including the words "up to” must have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate that all or almost all consumers are likely to achieve the maximum savings claimed.

Go here to read the FTC’s press release about the settlements. This page also contains links to each of the complaints.


New Federal Consumer Protection Working Group Takes Aim at Consumer Fraud

Venable attorney Jonathan L. Pompan writes in a recent piece that the latest development in federal agencies’ efforts to protect vulnerable populations is the creation of the Consumer Protection Working Group, a new unit within the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The Department of Justice leads the working group, which will work across federal law enforcement and regulatory agencies, as well as state and local partners, to seek out, investigate, and prosecute consumer fraud.

Go here to read Jonathan Pompan's piece.

"Significant Changes in Advertising Law 2012", LIVE Webcast for The Knowledge Group
February 24, 2012
Venable is a proud sponsor of this event. Join us for a panel discussion featuring Roger A. Colaizzi on February 24 at 12 p.m. (EST). The online panel will cover changing legal issues advertisers face this year including new privacy protocols, current regulatory updates and legal compliance with privacy laws.

LeadsCon 2012 - Las Vegas
February 27, 2012
Venable's Jonathan L. Pompan and Katherine Brodie of the APSCU will lead a discussion on the evolving legal and regulatory landscapes for lead generation at LeadsCon 2012 . The presentation will begin at 4:15 p.m (PST) and is part of the invite only "Lead Buyer Summit."

ERA Great Ideas Summit – Miami
February 27-29, 2012
Venable is a proud sponsor of this year’s ERA Great Ideas Summit in Miami. Please visit us at our booth (No.105), or if you would like to meet with one of our attorneys while you’re at the show, please send an email to Charles Wilkins at

Natural Products Expo West / Engredea 2012
March 9-11, 2012
Visit with Venable’s Dietary Supplements, Food & Cosmetics attorneys during this co-located exposition. Stop by our booth (No. 246 in Hall A). Michelle C. Jackson and Todd A. Harrison will present a case study on "Claiming to be the Best: Understanding How to Substantiate Your Claims" on Friday, March 9 at 1:30 p.m. (PST) in Hall A.

International Home and Housewares Show 2012 - Chicago
March 10-13, 2012
Join Jeffrey D. Knowles and Roger A. Colaizzi for a presentation that will answer the question “Can You Substantiate That? Alerting Marketers to Increasing FTC Scrutiny” on March 11 at 11:30 a.m. (CST) in Lakeside Innovation Theater, E350.

American Conference Institute's Food & Beverage Marketing & Advertising Law Conference
March 19-20, 2012
Venable is a proud sponsor of ACI’s Food & Beverage Marketing & Advertising Law Conference. Join Todd A. Harrison for a presentation on “Pom and Its Progeny – Examining Development Case Law Addressing Evolving FTC Requirements for Health-Related Claims” and Claudia A. Lewis-eng for a “Deep Dive into Food and Beverage Claim Substantiation.”

American Bar Association's Antitrust Law 2012 Spring Meeting - Washington D.C.
March 30, 2012
Venable partner, Amy R. Mudge will moderate this panel in which a group of distinguished speakers will answer: Will the 2011 term decisions represent a sea change in the treatment of class action litigation, or will they be narrowly interpreted by lower courts? At issue – binding arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, class certification, jurisdiction over foreign corporations after Goodyear/Nicastro, and re-litigating dismissed class allegations after Bayer. The panel begins at 8:15 a.m. (EST)

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