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Jan 21, 2014

FTC | Business Center Blog Update January 21, 2014: Picture this: Honoring the certification requirements of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework

Federal Trade Commission - Business Center Blog Update

By Lesley Fair

Business may seem borderless these days, but it’s important that companies honor applicable legal principles.  That’s especially true when it comes to privacy. The good news for U.S. businesses is that federal regulators and their EU and Swiss counterparts have international frameworks in place to honor EU privacy standardsand streamline compliance responsibilities when transferring data from the European Union and Switzerland to the United States. When companies participate, it’s a win-win for consumers and business. But according to a dozen law enforcement settlements filed by the FTC, some household names claimed to hold current Safe Harbor certifications, but had allowed their certifications to lapse.

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Bloomberg | The Market Now January 21, 2014.

The news that drives the U.S. and global markets.
January 21, 2014For more, visit >>
When's the Future Hard to Predict? When It's Different From the Past.

With the annual World Economic Forum conference (aka Davos) set to begin tomorrow, Bloomberg today released the results of our quarterly investors' poll. The most notable news is that investors believe that the U.S. economy has come roaring back. You can see some of the results below (choose 'show images' in your email if you don't see the chart), and click through to the full survey.

Seventy-two percent of respondents believe the U.S. economy will improve over the next year. Almost half of respondents list the U.S. as one of the world's two best regions to invest.
Worth pondering--and this newsletter has no ready answer--is how good surveys in general can be at predicting inflection points. The assumption that things will continue as they are is usually a safe one. So it's certainly reasonable to bet that the U.S. will be a good place to invest in the next year, as it has been in the last two.

The bigger challenge for prediction in general is foreseeing when they will change. In 
2008 survey of CEOsmost were confident that their businesses would grow in the next year. Very few foresaw just how bad it would get and why (an exception: Alex Widmer of Bank Julius Baer). In principle, gatherings like the Davos conference are devoted to divining those crucial moments. In practice, alas, those turning points in the global economy come precisely when the consensus view gets things wrong. -Mark Gimein
Buffett Leans on 29-Year-Old Protegé to Oversee Berkshire's Problems ChildrenWhen Warren Buffett bought half of a commercial mortgage finance company in 2009, he hired a 25-year-old fresh out of business school to keep tabs on the investment. Now 29, Britt Cool is one of Buffett's most-trusted advisers. In 2012, she was named chairman of that business and three other units, including paint company Benjamin Moore. The subsidiaries have combined sales exceeding $4 billion and more than 10,000 workers. Read the full storyberkshire-cool
JPMorgan, Credit Suisse Ramp Up Push to Fund StartupsWhen SurveyMonkey Inc. Chief Executive Officer Dave Goldberg wanted to buy out investors from his Internet company and attract new ones who wouldn't balk at his aim to stay private, he steered clear of traditional startup financiers in the venture-capital community.  Instead, Goldberg turned to an entirely different adviser: JPMorgan Chase & Co. Read the full storystartup-funding
Top Hedge Fund Managers Bet U.S. Stocks Will Keep RisingJeff Altman and John Paulson, two of last year's best-performing hedge-fund managers, are predicting that stocks will continue their rally in 2014 even as the bull market approaches its sixth year. Read the full storypaulson
After Eight Years of Tax Cuts Swedes Poised to Revive Welfare StateeSwedes are preparing to punish the government for cutting their taxes. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose main policy thrust over the past eight years has been to let voters take home more of their pay, looks set to lose September elections.  Read the full storystockholm
Read more news at >>
This Man Won $15M at Blackjack, How Did He Do It?
Learn how one gambler transformed himself from mediocre card player into the man who won $15 million from some of the biggest casinos in the business.Watch the video>>
THE MARKET NOW is brought to you from the desk of:


Mark Gimein
Companies and Markets Editor,
Twitter: @markgimein

European Bank For Reconstruction and Development | Selected Disclosed Information January 21, 2014.

16-01-2014 12:00 AM GMT

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has joined HSBC Bank Egypt in a facility providing a combined total commitment of US$ 100 million to the Improved Petroleum Recovery (IPR) group, an independent exploration and development company.  The development facility has been structured with an accordion feature to allow additional commitments.

21-01-2014 12:00 AM GMT

In an additional move to support Russia’s important leasing sector, the EBRD is providing a long-term loan of 500 million roubles to the leasing arm of Rosbank, the Russian banking group majority owned by France’s Societe Generale.

21-01-2014 12:00 AM GMT

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and  global growth markets-focused private equity firm, The Abraaj Group,  have acquired a majority stake in Yörsan, one of Turkey’s leading producers and retailers of dairy products. The investment marks the EBRD’s first equity investment in the Turkish dairy sector and its first co-investment with The Abraaj Group.

FTC | Agreements January 21, 2014: FTC Settles with Twelve Companies Falsely Claiming to Comply with International Safe Harbor Privacy Framework

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Twelve U.S. businesses have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they falsely claimed they were abiding by an international privacy framework known as the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor that enables U.S. companies to transfer consumer data from the European Union to the United States in compliance with EU law.
The companies settling with the FTC represent a cross-section of industries, including retail, professional sports, laboratory science, data broker, debt collection, and information security. The companies handle a variety of consumer information, including in some instances sensitive data about health and employment. The twelve companies are:
“Enforcement of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework is a Commission priority. These twelve cases help ensure the integrity of the Safe Harbor Framework and send the signal to companies that they cannot falsely claim participation in the program,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
According to the twelve complaints filed by the FTC, the companies deceptively claimed they held current certifications under the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework and, in three of the complaints, also deceptively claimed certifications under the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor framework. The U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor frameworks are voluntary programs administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission and Switzerland, respectively.  To participate, a company must self-certify annually to the Department of Commerce that it complies with the seven privacy principles required to meet the EU’s adequacy standard: notice, choice, onward transfer, security, data integrity, access, and enforcement. A participant in the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor framework may also highlight for consumers its compliance with the Safe Harbor by displaying the Safe Harbor certification mark on its website.
The FTC complaints charge each company with representing, through statements in their privacy policies or display of the Safe Harbor certification mark, that they held current Safe Harbor certifications, even though the companies had allowed their certifications to lapse. The Commission alleged that this conduct violated Section 5 of the FTC Act. However, this does not necessarily mean that the company committed any substantive violations of the privacy principles of the Safe Harbor frameworks.
Under the proposed settlement agreements, which are subject to public comment, the companies are prohibited from misrepresenting the extent to which they participate in any privacy or data security program sponsored by the government or any other self-regulatory or standard-setting organization.
Consumers who want to know whether a U.S. company is a participant in the U.S-EU or U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor program may visit to see if the company holds a current self-certification.
These cases are being brought with the valuable assistance of the U.S. Department of Commerce. These companies were also the subject of complaints filed in 2013 by Chris Connolly and Galexia, Inc.
The Commission votes to accept the consent agreement packages containing the proposed consent orders for public comment were 4-0. The FTC will publish descriptions of the consent agreement packages in the Federal Register shortly. The agreements will be subject to public comment for 30 days, beginning today and continuing through Feb. 20, 2014, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent orders final. Interested parties can submit written comments electronically or in paper form by following the instructions in the “Invitation To Comment” part of the “Supplementary Information” section. Comments in electronic form should be submitted using the following Web links:
Comments in paper form should be mailed or delivered to: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form near the end of the public comment period be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.
NOTE: The Commission issues an administrative complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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Jay Mayfield
Office of Public Affairs

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