FTC

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 Brian Dolan August 24, 2015
Amsterdam-based dermatology app company SkinVision has raised $3.4 million from pharmaceutical company Leo Pharma with contributions from SkinVision's existing investor and majority stakeholder Dutch investment firm Personal Health Solutions Capital. The complany plans to use the funding to move its app's capabilities beyond melanoma recognition and into other skin conditions, according to a...
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 Aditi Pai March 5, 2015
First Derm, a dermatology question-and-answer app that is available in the Apple AppStore and Google Play Store, has reached 100,000 downloads. The app launched a little more than a year ago: January 2014. First Derm allows users to anonymously take pictures of external skin problems and send them to a licensed dermatologist, who will respond to inquiries within 24 hours of receiving the pictures...
By Brian Dolan February 23, 2015
The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against two melanoma detection apps: MelApp and Mole Detective. Some of the marketers behind the apps have agreed to settle with the FTC, while two additional marketers of Mole Detective have refused. Total settlements for the two apps came to just north of $20,000. Both apps claim to provide an "automated analysis of moles and skin lesions for...
By Jonah Comstock January 20, 2015
Days after the FDA issued new draft guidance that may be softer on devices making certain kinds of medical claims, the FTC has reminded companies that it also has regulatory power over health claims and might be stepping up to the plate. The FTC announced an administrative complaint against Focus Education, a company that makes a brain training game for children called Jungle Rangers. The...
By Brian Dolan September 17, 2014
About a week ago Fitbit hired a lobbyist firm to represent its interests on the Hill, as the National Journal reported. According to the official lobbyist registration form, Heather Podesta + Partners will help Fitbit "educate lawmakers regarding health and fitness devices". The form also lists two general issues of interest to Fitbit: health care issues and consumer issues around safety and...
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...

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