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    AdWeek: FTC’s Jessica Rich Lays Out Ambitious Ad Enforcement Agenda

    Jessica Rich, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s bureau of consumer protection, spoke about consumer privacy and the FTC’s work against unfair and deceptive advertising practices at the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council’s recent annual conference in New York. AdWeek reports:

    Named to her position in June, Rich’s remarks marked her first public appearance before the advertising community. Like her predecessor, David Vladeck, Rich said marketers should expect more of the same from the division.

    “The FTC has long had a focus on national advertising. We’re by no means finished,” Rich said.

    In addition to continuing the commission’s focus on deceptive health and safety claims (making sure claims are backed by scientific evidence), “drip” pricing (hidden fees for services and products that aren’t disclosed on websites) and food marketing to children, Rich said the agency will also begin to ramp up enforcement of deceptive environmental claims. The agency will also ramp up its law enforcement in digital marketing and privacy.

    The coming crackdown on environmental claims follows an update of the FTC’s “green guides,” released last year at the ASRC conference. […]

    Keeping pace with all the new marketing platforms, Rich signaled she will also expand the agency’s law enforcement front in digital. As emphasized in the FTC’s recent updated guidance on dot-com disclosures, advertising disclosures on mobile platforms “must be clear and conspicuous.”

    “This will be an area of increased law enforcement activity in the coming year,” Rich said.

    The FTC is also expanding its digital enforcement to other digital marketing strategies. It recently updated its search engine guidelines and is beginning to scrutinize whether search engines make it easy for consumers to distinguish paid search results. The FTC is also taking the first steps towards guidance for native advertising, beginning with a workshop scheduled for Dec. 4.

    Near and dear to Rich’s heart and work at the FTC, Rich called privacy “a huge priority.” She said the agency will focus first on big data because it “raises numerous privacy concerns,” whether online or on mobile. The FTC’s report, based on its investigation of data broker practices, will be released by the end of the year.

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