The Secure Times

An online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law's Privacy and Information Security Committee

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Upcoming 1 Hour Teleseminar on the Amended COPPA Rule – Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 30

Please register for a one-hour teleseminar entitled:

The Amended COPPA Rule:  Adapting to the Final Implementation

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. EST

Click HERE to register

In July 2013, the amended Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
Rule went into effect. How is the industry is dealing with the new and revised
COPPA provisions such as the new definition of personal information, mixed
audience sites, liability for third party plug ins?  What are the expectations
of regulators?  Our expert panelists will offer different perspectives on key
provisions and implementation of the revised rule, including compliance,
enforcement, and education.  We will also cover traps for the unwary and best
practices regarding the collection and use of children’s personal

Kristin Cohen, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C.
Elizabeth Blumenfeld, Crowell & Moring LLP, Washington, D.C.
Phyllis Spaeth, Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, New York, NY

Erika Brown Lee, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Washington, D.C.

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Upcoming Program in D.C. on Career Opportunities in Privacy, Advertising, and Consumer Protection Law

Advertising, Consumer Protection, & Privacy Law: An Emerging Practice with Exciting Career Opportunities

Presented by the ABA Section of Antitrust Law

Private Advertising Litigation Committee
Consumer Protection Committee
Privacy and Information Security Committee

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
12:00pm to 1:00pm Eastern Time

George Washington University Law School
Lisner Hall Room 201 (Student Conference Center)
2023 G Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20052

Join young attorneys from the ABA Antitrust Section for a discussion about exciting new career opportunities in advertising, consumer protection, and privacy law. This program will provide students and other junior attorneys with the opportunity to dialogue with young attorneys in the field about pathways into these emerging areas of the law. It will also include a broad overview of the relevant laws and agencies that operate within the fields. The discussion will conclude with an opportunity to ask questions about what led the speakers to these fields. This program will be held live at George Washington University Law School. GW law students and non-students who would like to attend in person should RSVP to Kevin Motsinger at with “ABA Antitrust” as the subject line. Registration for the live teleconference of this event is available through the link on the attached Program Flyer.  All other questions may be directed to David Conway at


• David Conway, Venable LLP


• Andi Arias, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Privacy & Identity Protection
• Donnelly McDowell, Kelley Drye
• Ella Krainsky, Federal Trade Commission, Division of Advertising Practices
• Mona Thakkar, Volkswagen Group


The ABA is not seeking CLE credit for this program.

Audio Archive

Provided all releases are obtained, MP3 recordings of this program will be available to Section members on the Committee Program Audio page.

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Call for New Contributors to The Secure Times

The Secure Times is looking for additional bloggers to join our schedule of contributors starting in August.  Bloggers are generally assigned a week every 2-3 months.  We look for insights on current events or issues in the wide-ranging legal privacy and information security field.  Blogging is a great way to expand your profile and meet others in the field.  The blog is managed by the Privacy and Information Security Committee of the ABA Antitrust Section, though you do NOT need to be a member of the ABA to be a contributor to the blog.

Please contact Bridget Calhoun at if you are interested in joining our blog team.

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Welcome to the Redesigned Secure Times Blog

Welcome to the redesigned and enhanced The Secure Times Online Forum, an online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law’s Privacy and Information Security (PRIS) Committee. This forum is a publication of the Privacy and Information Security Committee of the American Bar Association. For those of you who are regular readers of The Secure Times, you will notice a new format including social media sharing “widgets” to more easily tweet, email, and share individual posts, as well as the ability to register for email notification of new posts. We warmly welcome new visitors and hope you will find these posts informative and insightful on timely developments in the exciting world of privacy and information security. Please check out the social media sharing and email notification features and check back often for privacy and information security updates.

Join the Privacy and Information Security Committee

We would like to invite all our readers to join the PRIS Committee of the ABA’s Antitrust Section. Members of the PRIS Committee may sign up for our listserv as well as attend valuable webinars, teleseminars and other programming on timely and important privacy and information security issues. To further keep our members apprised of key developments in privacy and information security, the PRIS Committee sponsors monthly privacy and information security update teleconferences where seasoned practitioners discuss and analyze the important developments of the prior month. Finally, the PRIS Committee holds networking and other events as well as provides writing opportunities for members interested in meeting other professionals in this area of the law and building their professional profiles. Our website posts information on upcoming and past events.

So, please check out our website and consider joining the Committee to avail yourself of the many resources the PRIS Committee has to offer. If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of the following leaders of the Committee: Chair—Erika Brown Lee; Vice Chairs—Bridget Calhoun, Aryeh Friedman, Josh Harris, Benita Kahn, Saira Nayak, Gail Slater, Kurt Wimmer; Young Lawyer Representative—Marie-Andree Weiss.

If you also practice in the consumer protection and/or private advertising litigation areas, please also visit the Consumer Protection Committee webpage and Private Advertising Litigation Committee webpage for information on these committees and how to join.

A Special Message to Young Lawyers and Law Students

If you are interested in developing a practice in privacy and information security, joining the PRIS Committee is one way to get involved with other practitioners as well as keep abreast of key developments in the law, obtain writing and speaking opportunities to build your professional profile, and attend networking and other events.

If you want to learn more about careers in this exciting field, please stay tuned, as PRIS will soon be co-sponsoring with the Young Lawyer Division’s Antitrust Law Committee a teleconference brown bag program on the Nuts and Bolts of Privacy and Information Security Law Practice. We will announce this event on our website and on The Secure Times.

New law school graduates can join the ABA at no cost for their first year out of law school. And Law Students can join for one year at a special Law Student Rate of $25. If you have just started law school (Congratulations!), you can choose to join for 3 years for $60. Once a member of the ABA, you can join the join the Section of Antitrust Law at a discounted rate of $10, and then join PRIS and other committees of interest at no additional costs.

An Invitation to International Attorneys

We would also like to extend a special invitation to international data privacy professionals who are interested in joining the PRIS Committee. We cover global privacy developments in our programming and welcome contributions and input from our international members as well. You can join the ABA as an International Law Associate, if you are an attorney admitted to practice law outside of the U.S., or as a General Associate, if you are not an attorney. The membership dues are $175. Once a member of the ABA, you can join the Section of Antitrust law for $60, then join the PRIS Committee and other committees of interest at no additional cost.

Please contact us if you are interested in contributing posts to The Secure Times. Thank you for visiting!

2013 Consumer Protection Conference – Washington, D.C.

Mark your calendars for February 7th , 2013 – the date of the Section’s bi-annual Consumer Protection Conference in Washington D.C.! The program will present not only a look back on the hot–button consumer issues from 2012 but, more importantly, will offer a roadmap of the full range of consumer issues going forward. Expert panels will feature senior representatives from the FTC, the CFPB and State AG offices. More information is available here. We hope you will be able to attend!

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Privacy and Information Security Monthly Update – January 8, 2013

Please join the Privacy and Information Security Committee for our next program on privacy and information security legislative, regulatory, enforcement and litigation developments, covering developments during the month of December 2012.  To register, email Jeanne Welch at  All pertinent dial-in information will be provided in your confirmation.

Please note that the PowerPoint presentation will be available to members only through the Privacy & Information Security Committee website,

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Data Brokers: The Feds are Watching YOU

Data brokers are invisible to consumers and unbridled by regulation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has repeatedly emphasized the need for targeted legislation to regulate this industry. In an attempt to bolster self-regulatory efforts, the FTC’s March 2012 privacy report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers, calls on data brokers to post their data collection practices and to provide consumers with choices on what information is being collected and retained. However, self-regulatory efforts have largely failed.

Perhaps until now. The following events may change the regulatory landscape for companies engaging in data mining practices.

Lawmakers Release Information on Data Brokers’ Collection and Use of Consumer Information

On November 8, 2012, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Reps. Edward Markey and Joe Barton, Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, released responses to letters sent last July to nine major data brokerage companies regarding their data mining practices. The results were disconcerting. The companies reported they were collecting consumer data from a variety of sources, including telephone directories, mobile phones, government agencies, financial institutions, social media sites, and consumers themselves. All but one (Acxiom, relevance to be discussed below) rejected the categorization of their business practices as “data brokerage.” And only Acxiom provided information on the number of consumers who requested access to their information in the last two years: 77 out of 190 million consumers from whom data had been mined.

In a joint statement released the same day, lawmakers characterized the companies’ responses as offering “only a glimpse of the practices of an industry that has operated in the shadow for years.” Lawmakers vowed to continue their efforts to learn more about the data brokerage industry and to “push for whatever steps are necessary to make sure Americans know how this industry operates and are granted control over their own information.”

Recall that Acxiom Corporation’s mining practices had been unveiled by the New York Times last June. The Times characterized Acxiom as the world’s largest commercial database on consumers, operating tens of thousands of servers to collect and analyze consumer data on hundreds of million consumers worldwide on trillions of data transactions a year. The article reported that Acxiom and others operate an extremely profitable enterprise, yielding over $77 million per fiscal year, and enjoy a broad customer base of banks, investment services, automakers, department stores, just about any major company looking for insight into its consumers.

FTC Settlement with Online Data Brokerage Company, Compete, Inc.

On October 22, 2012, the FTC announced its proposed settlement with web analytics company Compete, Inc. The FTC alleged the company used web-tracking software to follow the browsing behavior of millions of consumers without disclosing the extent of the information being collected. Compete got unwitting consumers to download the tracking software by, among other things, promising rewards for sharing opinions about products and services on an online forum. Once installed, the tracking component collected information about consumers’ online activity and captured information consumers entered into websites, including consumers’ usernames, passwords, credit card and financial account information, security codes, and Social Security Numbers. Compete then compiled this data to generate consumer reports, which it sold to clients wanting to improve their website traffic and sales. The FTC alleged the company failed to adopt reasonable data security practices and deceived consumers about the amount of personal information that its website would collect, and also charged Compete with deceptive practices for falsely claiming that the data it kept was anonymous. The proposed settlement requires Compete to obtain consumers’ express consent before collecting any data from software downloaded onto consumers’ computers, to delete personal information already collected, and to provide directions for uninstalling its software.

FTC to Host December 2012 Workshop on Data Mining

On December 6, 2012, the FTC will host a public workshop, entitled “The Big Picture: Comprehensive Data Collection,” which will explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive data collection. The FTC’s preliminary agenda includes an examination by consumer protection organizations, academics, business and industry representatives, and privacy professionals of the technological landscape related to data mining, its benefits and risks, consumer knowledge and attitude, and the future of comprehensive data collection. The workshop will likely address many of the questions left unanswered by the nine data brokers queried by lawmakers regarding the companies’ data mining practices.

It remains to be seen whether these events will provide enough legislative inertia to promulgate industry-wide change. Until then, data brokers will continue their practice of unfettered commercial data mining of sensitive consumer information.