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March 7th, 2016
FTC Settles Privacy Charges Against ASUS
Computer hardware maker ASUSTeK Computer, Inc. ("ASUS") recently settled FTC charges that the company failed to take steps to secure the software on its routers, putting hundreds of thousands of consumers at risk. In addition to flagging software security issues, the FTC argued that ASUS (1) falsely advertised its routers would "protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking, and virus attacks"; (2) ignored warnings from security researchers that the product was not living up to its claims; and (3) failed to promptly notify customers that the product's security features were defective.
In August of 2012, ASUS introduced and began marketing a feature known as AiCloud on its routers. ASUS marketed AiCloud as a "private personal cloud for selective file sharing ... [with] the most complete, accessible and secure cloud platform." But the AiCloud applications had vulnerabilities that allowed attackers to gain unauthorized access to consumers' files and router login credentials. After security professionals and hacking victims notified ASUS about the vulnerabilities ASUS delayed rolling out a security patch, leaving consumers at risk. The FTC argued that ASUS's failure to remedy the security risks and delay in notifying consumers subjected consumers to substantial injury.
Under the settlement ASUS will establish a comprehensive security program, including "clearly and conspicuously" notifying consumers about software updates and allowing consumers to register for direct security notices regarding its routers.
The FTC has taken substantial steps over the last year to ramp up security initiatives for businesses with products or services that can have an impact on consumer privacy - including its "Start With Security" business education conference series. The ASUS settlement will certainly be added to the list of cases that can guide companies that handle or secure sensitive customer data.
If you have any questions about the ASUS matter or other privacy and data security law issues, please contact S. Gregory Boyd at (212) 826 5581 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Privacy and Data Security Group.
Other Privacy & Data Security Law Alerts
Privacy Shield: Year One Updates You Need To Know
This month we're celebrating Privacy Shield's first birthday with an update on everything Privacy Shield. There have been a number of developments on the Privacy Shield-front that companies certified or seeking self-certification under Privacy Shield need to know.
October 17 2017
Class Action Lawsuits Over Alleged COPPA Violations Reinforce Importance of Compliance
Earlier this month, three class action lawsuits were filed against companies for alleged violations of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act ("COPPA").
August 22 2017
Third State Adopts Biometric Privacy Law
On June 1, 2017, Washington State joined Illinois and Texas as the third state to pass a biometric privacy law. The law, H.B. 1493, which goes into effect July 23, 2017, covers any business entity that collects biometric identifiers for commercial purposes.
July 11 2017