The firm that issues the TRUSTe privacy seal displayed on thousands of websites has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle charges that it deceived consumers about the sites it vouched for and perpetuated misrepresentations about TRUSTe’s status as a nonprofit.
San Francisco-based TRUSTe told consumers that the websites certified under its programs receive a recertification review every year, according to a release published Monday by the Federal Trade Commission. But in fact, the consumer watchdog agency said, TRUSTe failed to conduct annual reviews in at least 1,000 cases from 2006 to 2013.
“TRUSTe promised to hold companies accountable for protecting consumer privacy, but it fell short of that pledge,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in Monday’s release. “Self-regulation plays an important role in helping to protect consumers. But when companies fail to live up to their promises to consumers, the FTC will not hesitate to take action.”
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