Federal Trade Commission

By Jonah Comstock January 14, 2016
The FTC’s PrivacyCon, an all day event that included presentations and discussions from a number of privacy researchers, one presentation focused on the data privacy risks associated with direct to consumer genomic data services. Many of these risks apply to any consumer health data service. Researchers Jan Charbonneau and Andelka Phillips, of the University of Tasmania and the University of...
By Brian Dolan September 21, 2015
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged the marketers of a vision improvement app, called UltimEyes, with deceptively claiming they their program was scientifically proven to improve the user's eye sight. The company behind the app, Carrot Neurotechnology, and its co-owners Adam Goldberg and Aaron Seitz have agreed to pay $150,000 and to stop citing the claims. Notably, the $5.99 app is...
By Jonah Comstock April 13, 2015
A brain training game fined by the FTC earlier this year. Developers of mobile health apps need to be mindful of regulation from a number of different quarters. Among others, developers need to be aware of the FDA, OCR (HIPAA), and the FTC, which is increasingly regulating areas that would seem to be the purview of one of the other two groups. At a HIMSS session on mobile and digital health...
By Jonah Comstock March 30, 2015
A recent Supreme Court decision could have a profound impact on the ability of state medical boards to prevent telemedicine companies from offering their services, according to some experts familiar with the case. North Carolina Board of Dental (NCBD) Examiners vs Federal Trade Commission was decided by a 6-3 vote last month. The case ruled that medical boards comprised of private professionals (...
By Brian Dolan January 28, 2015
This week the Federal Trade Commission published a report focused on privacy and security issues related to the massive Internet of Things (IoT) trend, which includes the growing number of connected health devices. The report summarizes the discussions that took place at an FTC-hosted workshop in November 2013, and it also includes recommendations for the industry from FTC's staff, which they put...
By Aditi Pai November 17, 2014
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached out to Apple to confirm that the health data collected by Apple's smartwatch, called Apple Watch, will not be sold to third parties, according to a report from Reuters. Reuters explains that in the past few months, Apple representatives have met with FTC officials on multiple occasions to discuss the privacy issues surrounding the Apple Watch. Apple'...
By Jonah Comstock July 24, 2014
At a Tech in Policy event sponsored by Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill made it clear that the FTC is aware of recent concerns about health app data privacy and security and is looking into new ways to police the industry. "The law is, on some level, always going to lag behind technology," she said. "Technology is moving at lightning speed. Our job at the...
By Jonah Comstock December 8, 2013
AcneApp, one of the mobile medical apps the FTC removed in 2011. Correction: A previous version of this article said the ONC, not the OCR, released the HIPAA omnibus rule. This year has been a big year for health app regulation: FDA released its final guidance on regulation of mobile medical apps earlier this year, and the Office of Civil Rights released its final HIPAA omnibus rule in January...
By Brian Dolan September 9, 2011
By Brian Dolan and Chris Gullo In a watershed moment, the FTC this week fined two app developers who falsely advertised that their smartphone apps could treat acne. The apps, AcneApp and Acne Pwner, were sold in the iTunes App Store and Android Marketplace, respectively. The settlements ban the developers from stating certain health-related claims without scientific evidence. AcneApp's...

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