Turn Inc. Guilty of Consumer Deception, Settles with FTC

The Federal Trade Commission voted to issue an administrative complaint against a Redwood City, CA based company, Turn Inc. In a 3-0 vote, the FTC agreed to accept the consent agreement, which prevents Turn Inc. from misrepresenting how it tracks user information online and the capability of the user to control or limit Turn’s use of their online activity.

Turn, a company that provides services that allows sellers to use digital marketing and advertisements to consumers, has agreed to settle with the FTC. The FTC asserts that Turn deceived users by continuing to track users activities online, even after the users had specifically opted out of such tracking.

Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated “Turn tracked millions of consumers online and through mobile apps even if they had taken steps to block or limit tracking, The FTC’s order will ensure the company honors consumers’ privacy choices.”

One way that Turn Inc. deceived its users was by setting up their opt-out mechanism to take affect only mobile browsers, even though the opt-out mechanism stated that the user would be opted out of tailored ads on mobile apps as well.

A second way that users were misled was that Turn’s privacy policy stated that users could use their web browser’s setting to either block or limit cookies for targeted advertising, and in reality, Turn continued tracking activity even after the settings had been changed.

The next step for the FTC will be to publish a document into the Federal Registry that details the consent agreement package. The agreement will be made public today, and comments will be able to be made electronically for 30 days, up until January 19, 2017, at which time FTC will make a final decision on if the consent order will be finalized or not.

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