After a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final order resolving the Commission’s complaint against TRUSTe, Inc. for deceiving consumers about its privacy seal program.
The settlement was first announced in November 2014. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that TRUSTe failed to conduct promised annual recertifications of companies participating in its privacy seal program more than 1,000 times between 2006 and 2013. The complaint also alleged that TRUSTe misrepresented its status as a non-profit entity.
Under the terms of the order, TRUSTe is prohibited from making misrepresentations about its certification process, its corporate status, or whether an entity participates in its programs. In addition, TRUSTe must not provide other companies or entities with the means to make misrepresentations about these facts, such as through incorrect or inaccurate model language.
The order also requires the company in its role as a COPPA safe harbor to provide detailed information about its COPPA-related activities in its annual filing to the FTC, as well as maintaining comprehensive records about its COPPA safe harbor activities for ten years. Each of these provisions represents an increase in the reporting requirements laid out under the COPPA Rule for safe harbor programs. The company must also pay $200,000 as part of the settlement.
The Commission vote to approve the final order and letters to commenters was 5-0.
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