The Do Not Call Registry remains one of the government’s most popular programs. Increasingly, however, the protection ensured by the Registry is being challenged through the use of robocalls by scam artists. The FTC’s aggressive strategic plan for dealing with illegal robocalls involves working with technological experts and law enforcement partners to find innovative and effective ways to trace illegal calls, combat caller ID spoofing, and ultimately stop the calls. The FTC announced the winners of its first public challenge, which offered a $50,000 prize for the most workable and innovative solutions; hosted a Robocall Summit that brought stakeholders together to discuss creative remedies; and led joint federal-state law enforcement efforts, including prosecuting operations allegedly responsible for millions of robocalls pitching phony credit card interest rate reductions, among other bogus services.
With the explosion in the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, the FTC has focused law enforcement and business education efforts on the mobile marketplace. For example, the FTC reached a settlement with mobile device maker HTC America, resolving charges that it failed to reasonably safeguard the security of its smartphones and tablets. In addition, the FTC issued the Mobile Privacy Disclosure report recommending how key players in the mobile marketplace can better inform consumers about their data practices, and updated .com Disclosures, guidance that explains how the attributes of clear and conspicuous disclosures apply to advertising and marketing in new formats to avoid deception. The FTC also issued a staff report recommending best practices for companies using facial recognition technologies.