FTC v. Turn: Keep Your Privacy Promises about Tracking, Retargeting and Opting Out
According to the FTC, Turn participated in a Verizon Wireless ("VZW") program that allowed Turn and its clients to access demographic information about VZW's users. As part of that program, VZW uniquely identified each of its users by appending an "X-UIDH header" to every unencrypted web request of its 100+ million users. Turn then synced that header with other identifiers (e.g., cookies and device identifiers), enabling Turn to track and target users for digital advertising even after the consumer had deleted cookies or reset his or her mobile device advertising identifier.
The proposed consent order: (1) prohibits Turn from misrepresenting the extent of its online tracking or the ability of its users to limit or control Turn's use of their data; (2) requires Turn to provide an effective opt-out mechanism for consumers who do not want to receive targeted advertising; and (3) requires Turn to place a link on its home page that takes users to a disclosure explaining what information Turn collects and uses for targeted advertising.
The Key Takeaways
- They Are Watching You Watch Others. The FTC and other regulators are becoming increasingly sophisticated at understanding the complex technology underlying the digital advertising ecosystem. This case demonstrates the "tech prowess" of the FTC, which successfully unraveled Turn's creation of a "supercookie" through the use of VZW's X-UIDH header. Not bad, FTC.
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