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    Frontier lied about Internet speeds and “ripped off customers,” FTC says / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 5 May - 20:51

A computer showing a slow-moving loading bar.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Steven Puetzer )

The Federal Trade Commission today said it "has moved to stop Internet service provider Frontier Communications from lying to consumers and charging them for high-speed Internet speeds it fails to deliver."

Frontier was sued by the FTC in May 2021, and on Thursday, it agreed to a settlement with the FTC and district attorneys in Los Angeles County and Riverside County who represented the people of California. Frontier must pay $8.5 million to California "for investigation and litigation costs" and another $250,000 that will be distributed to Frontier customers who were harmed by Frontier's alleged actions.

Frontier must also make changes, such as letting customers cancel service at no charge and "discount[ing] the bills of California customers who have not been notified that they are receiving DSL service that is much slower than the highest advertised speed," the FTC said.

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    Report: US Senators urge FTC to scrutinize Microsoft/Activision merger / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 31 March - 21:05

Report: US Senators urge FTC to scrutinize Microsoft/Activision merger

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Four U.S. Senators have sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan expressing concern about Microsoft's proposed $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard , according to a Wall Street Journal report .

In the letter, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) express worry that the merger could hurt efforts to hold Activision management accountable for widespread allegations of abuse, sexual harassment, and discrimination at Activision Blizzard. The letter also takes specific issue with reports that Activision CEO Bobby Kotick will be allowed to stay until the merger is finalized, and that the embattled executive might have negotiated a "graceful exit" as part of the merger talks.

"This lack of accountability, despite shareholders, employees, and the public calling for Kotick to be held responsible for the culture he created, would be an unacceptable result of the proposed Microsoft acquisition," the letter reads in part, according to the report. The Senators also expressed general concern about "consolidation in the tech industry and its impact on workers."

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    FTC sues Intuit in bid to stop “deceptive” ads that claim TurboTax is free / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 29 March - 18:49 · 1 minute

Boxed versions of TurboTax software sit on a store shelf.

Enlarge / TurboTax products sit on display at Costco on January 28, 2016, in Foster City, California. (credit: Getty Images | Kimberly White )

The Federal Trade Commission sued Intuit on Monday, alleging that it deceptively advertises "free" tax filing with TurboTax. Intuit's deceptive tactics pushed customers toward paid products—even in cases where they were eligible for the no-cost Free File program for people with low and moderate incomes, the FTC said.

The FTC asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction forcing Intuit to stop "disseminating the deceptive claim that consumers can file their taxes for free using TurboTax when in truth, in numerous instances Defendant does not permit consumers to file their taxes for free using TurboTax." If approved by the court, a proposed order submitted by the FTC would force Intuit to either stop claiming its product is free or to conspicuously include all the limitations in ads "so as to leave no reasonable probability that the terms of the offer might be misunderstood."

The FTC said Intuit makes misleading claims about TurboTax in paid advertisements and on its website. "Much of Intuit's advertising for TurboTax conveys the message that consumers can file their taxes for free using TurboTax, even going so far as to air commercials in which almost every word spoken is the word 'free,'" the FTC said in its complaint filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California. Intuit said it will fight the lawsuit in a response that called the FTC's allegations inaccurate.

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    DOJ, FTC, FDA sue man who claims $60 herbal tea cures COVID / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 8 March - 00:05

DOJ, FTC, FDA sue man who claims $60 herbal tea cures COVID

Enlarge (credit: B4B earth tea llc )

The Department of Justice, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Federal Trade Commission together filed a civil lawsuit against a New York man for falsely and repeatedly claiming that a $60 16-ounce bottle of herbal tea can prevent and cure COVID-19.

The agencies accused Andrew Martin Sinclair, who solely owns and operates B4B Earth Tea LLC, of selling snake oil and preying on vulnerable patients during a pandemic that has, to date, claimed the lives of more than 6 million people worldwide.

According to the lawsuit filed Thursday in the Eastern District Court of New York, Sinclair was warned multiple times by the federal agencies that his health claims for "Earth Tea" were illegal. Yet the Brooklyn resident, who goes by “Busta Sinclair,” continued to claim online and on social media that his herbal tea—said to be made of unnamed vegetables, aloe vera, honey, and bottled spring water—"works within minutes" to cure COVID-19 and can get someone "out of quarantine within 24 hours."

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    FTC has a “plausible claim” that Facebook is an illegal monopoly, judge says / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 12 January - 17:50

A worker picks up trash in front of the new logo in front of Meta

Enlarge / A worker picks up trash in front of the new logo in front of Meta's headquarters on October 28, 2021, in Menlo Park, Calif. (credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust suit against Facebook may proceed, a federal judge has ruled. The company had filed a motion to dismiss the case, which the judge denied.

US District Judge James Boasberg had invited the FTC to refile the case after throwing out its initial attempt when he found it lacking. “Second time lucky?” Boasberg wrote in yesterday’s opinion. Apparently.

“The core theory of the lawsuit remains essentially unchanged,” he said of the FTC's refiling. “The facts alleged this time around to fortify those theories, however, are far more robust and detailed than before, particularly in regard to the contours of Defendant’s alleged monopoly.”

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    Patch systems vulnerable to critical Log4j flaws, UK and US officials warn / ArsTechnica · Friday, 7 January - 21:02

Patch systems vulnerable to critical Log4j flaws, UK and US officials warn

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Criminals are actively exploiting the high-severity Log4Shell vulnerability on servers running VMware Horizon in an attempt to install malware that allows them to gain full control of affected systems, the UK’s publicly funded healthcare system is warning.

CVE-2021-44228 is one of the most severe vulnerabilities to come to light in the past few years. It resides in Log4J, a system-logging code library used in thousands if not millions of third-party applications and websites. That means there is a huge base of vulnerable systems. Additionally, the vulnerability is extremely easy to exploit and allows attackers to install Web shells, which provide a command window for executing highly privileged commands on hacked servers.

The remote-code execution flaw in Log4J came to light in December after exploit code was released before a patch was available. Malicious hackers quickly began actively exploiting CVE-2021-44228 to compromise sensitive systems .

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    Shkreli’s infamous price-gouging scheme finally shut down in $40M settlement / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 9 December - 23:39

Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing, smirked his way through a Congressional hearing.

Enlarge / Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing, smirked his way through a Congressional hearing. (credit: CSPAN )

A pharmaceutical company once owned by Martin Shkreli will pay up to $40 million in a settlement that will also finally end his infamous price-gouging scheme involving the antiparasitic drug Daraprim.

The Federal Trade Commission and its state co-plaintiffs—New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—filed a settlement order this week that will require Vyera Pharmaceuticals (formerly Turing) and its parent company Phoenixus to make Daraprim available to any generic competitor for the cost of making the drug. The companies are also barred from engaging in any scheme resembling the one surrounding Daraprim for 10 years.

The FTC and states alleged that, in 2015, Shkreli and former Vyera CEO Kevin Mulleady abruptly jacked up the price of Daraprim by more than 4,000 percent—raising the list price from $17.50 to $750 per tablet—after they bought the rights to the drug and created a "web of anticompetitive restrictions to box out the competition."

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    FTC sues Nvidia to preserve Arm’s status as “Switzerland” of semiconductors / ArsTechnica · Friday, 3 December - 17:37

FTC sues Nvidia to preserve Arm’s status as “Switzerland” of semiconductors

Enlarge (credit: Arm)

The Federal Trade Commission has sued to block Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm, the semiconductor design firm, saying that the blockbuster deal would unfairly stifle competition.

“The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s competition bureau, said in a statement. “Tomorrow’s technologies depend on preserving today’s competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm’s incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia’s rivals.”

Nvidia first announced its intention to acquire Arm in September 2020. At the time, the deal was worth $40 billion, but since then, Arm’s stock price has soared, and the cost of the cash and stock transaction has risen to $75 billion. The FTC lawsuit threatens to scuttle the deal entirely.

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