regulators Stories February 24, 2015

FTC fines apps that falsely claimed to detect melanoma using smartphone camera

The FTC is fining the creators of two different smartphone apps, both of which were previously available as paid apps on Google Play and the App Store, for falsely claiming to detect symptoms of melanoma. Most versions of the apps, MelApp and Mole Detective, have long been removed from sale, although a version of Mole Detective remains on Google Play for $4.99. Apple appears to have cracked down on similar apps somewhat that were available on its store as recently as early 2014, while some apps with similar claims continue to be available on Google Play. 

The Federal Trade Commission has challenged marketers for deceptively claiming their mobile apps could detect symptoms of melanoma, even in its early stages. In two separate cases, marketers of MelApp and Mole Detective have agreed to settlements that bar them from continuing to make such unsupported claims. The agency is pursuing charges against two additional marketers of Mole Detective who did not agree to settle.

It’s not the first and it likely won’t be the last time app makers face scrutiny from government officials over health care claims as fitness becomes more of a focus on mobile devices and companion wearables. As recently as November, the FTC was said to be pressing Apple on how it plans to use sensitive health related data collected from its upcoming Apple Watch launching in April.

regulators Stories December 12, 2013


Well, would you look at that, just moments after reports of a deal being near comes the news that a deal has actually been reached. The CTIA has posted a PDF document that reveals some of the agreed upon terms of the negotiations. The bottom line is no matter what, this is a major win for consumers and the overall industry even if the carriers are probably steaming over the deal.

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regulators Stories June 21, 2013


Google’s run-ins with the law in Europe have not gone unnoticed. Earlier this week, the company was ordered to fix its privacy issues in France to avoid facing fines, and now a UK regulator is ordering the company to delete all remaining Street View data within 35 days to avoid facing criminal charges, the ICO reports. Should Google find any further data, then it must inform the ICO immediately.

Today’s enforcement notice strengthens the action already taken by our office, placing a legal requirement on Google to delete the remaining payload data identified last year within the next 35 days and immediately inform the ICO if any further disks are found. Failure to abide by the notice will be considered as contempt of court, which is a criminal offense.

Back in 2010, Google had reached an agreement with the IOC over the WiFi data its Street View cars had accidentally collected. Earlier this year, however, Google stated that had not deleted all the data the first time around, which the IOC was not pleased with. Should Google fail to delete the remaining data within the given time period, it will be hit with a criminal offense.  expand full story

regulators Stories August 31, 2011

UPDATE 1 [Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 12:17pm EST]:AT&T has provided us with the official line regarding this development, found at the bottom of this article.

Bloomberg reports that the U.S. government has made a move to block the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA valued at $39 billion:

The U.S. government sued to block AT&T Inc.’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA Inc., saying the deal would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market.

The publication writes that the Justice Department filed a complaint Wednesday in federal court in Washington. The government is arguing that the proposed transaction would effectively legitimize duopoly in the country, adding in its filing that “AT&T’s elimination of T-Mobile as an independent, low- priced rival would remove a significant competitive force from the market”.

The government’s reasoning resonates with Sprint, the nation’s third-largest wireless operator, which asked Uncle Sam to intervene on the grounds that the resulting super carrier would prevent any meaningful competition on the market. AT&T denied Sprint’s accusations and said the merger would lead to fewer dropped calls and cheaper data plans for customers.

This is my next has a statement from FCC chairman Julius Genachowski who expressed “serious concerns” about competition:

By filing suit today, the Department of Justice has concluded that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would substantially lessen competition in violation of the antitrust laws. Competition is an essential component of the FCC’s statutory public interest analysis, and although our process is not complete, the record before this agency also raises serious concerns about the impact of the proposed transaction on competition. Vibrant competition in wireless services is vital to innovation, investment, economic growth and job creation, and to drive our global leadership in mobile. Competition fosters consumer benefits, including more choices, better service and lower prices.

If the transaction does indeed get rejected, T-Mobile USA will walk out with…

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