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FTC Requires Zoom to Enhance its Security Practices as Part of Settlement - Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission today announced a settlement with Zoom Video Communications, Inc. that will require the company to implement a robust information security program to settle allegations that the video conferencing provider engaged in a series of deceptive and unfair practices that undermined the security of its users.

Zoom has agreed to a requirement to establish and implement a comprehensive security program, a prohibition on privacy and security misrepresentations, and other detailed and specific relief to protect its user base, which has skyrocketed from 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million in April 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its complaint, the FTC alleged that, since at least 2016, Zoom misled users by touting that it offered “end-to-end, 256-bit encryption” to secure users’ communications, when in fact it provided a lower level of security. End-to-end encryption is a method of securing communications so that only the sender and recipient(s)—and no other person, not even the platform provider—can read the content.

In reality, the FTC alleges, Zoom maintained the cryptographic keys that could allow Zoom to access the content of its customers’ meetings, and secured its Zoom Meetings, in part, with a lower level of encryption than promised.

Zoom’s misleading claims gave users a false sense of security, according to the FTC’s complaint, especially for those who used the company’s platform to discuss sensitive topics such as health and financial information. In numerous blog posts, Zoom specifically touted its level of encryption as a reason for customers and potential customers to use Zoom’s videoconferencing services.

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200 Watches Worth Over $2M Halted by CBP Officers in Louisville - U.S. Customs & Border Protection

LOUISVILLE, Ky — As we enter the holiday season, criminals are stocking up on their counterfeits to fool U. S. consumers and reap the benefits of record breaking online purchases. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville are doing their part to protect the consumer and the economy seizing illegal shipments of counterfeit items that are shipped in the mail.

Last night, November 9, CBP officers in Louisville stopped a shipment from Hong Kong, destined for a company in New York, and uncovered 200 counterfeit Rolex watches worth more than $2.6 million.

CBP held the shipment, manifested as Fashion Watches, and inspected the parcel to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations. When the shipment was opened, and mingled with other legitimate watches, counterfeit Rolex watches were found inside. The watches were reviewed by an import specialist who determined the items were counterfeit. In all, 200 watches were seized. If these items were real, the total MSRP for these would have been $2.68 million.

“The importation of counterfeit merchandise poses a significant risk to the vitality of the U.S. economy, our national security and the health and safety of the American people,” said a CBP spokesperson. “Our enforcement efforts protect the integrity of private industry, while maintaining the inventory of safe, quality goods for the end user in the U.S.”

In fiscal year 20, CBP processed $2.4 trillion in imports, ensuring that goods coming into the country are safe and legal.  By the end of the last fiscal year, CBP recorded more than 23,700 seizures of counterfeit goods, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.

CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at
https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.


In the News:  Europe to Impose Tariffs in 16-Year Trade Fight With U.S. - The New York Times

Washington, D.C. – United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer responded to the announcement by the European Union today imposing tariffs on certain products from the United States.  

“The United States is disappointed by the action taken by the EU today,” Ambassador Lighthizer stated.  “The alleged subsidy to Boeing was repealed seven months ago.  The EU has long proclaimed its commitment to following WTO rules, but today’s announcement shows they do so only when convenient to them.”   

Background

As part of a 16-year-old litigation involving large civil aircraft, the EU alleged that a certain Washington State tax provision benefited Boeing.  In response to a WTO panel decision, Washington State unambiguously repealed this tax provision on April 1, 2020.  Under such circumstances, a WTO member cannot unilaterally impose retaliatory tariffs on a trading partner.  

The USTR is in negotiations with the EU with the hope of resolving this longstanding dispute relating to large civil aircraft.


Federal Register Notices:

Counterfeiters stocking up ahead of holiday  shopping  season

DALLAS – The largest holiday shopping season is underway and counterfeiters are eager to fool U.S. consumers into purchasing goods. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Dallas Fort Worth port of entry intercepted a shipment of counterfeit footwear, handbags, and textiles worth over $9.3 million dollars.

This shipment of counterfeit designer merchandise originated in China and was destined for McKinney, Texas.

“Criminal organizations are well aware that consumers will be shopping online for the best deals this holiday season,” said Timothy M. Lemaux, Port Director, Area Port of Dallas. “Our officers will take every opportunity to protect the American consumer and we caution those consumers that if an online deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.”

CBP officers experience led them to perform  a thorough examination of the shipment of 148 boxes manifested as “Ladies Sweater Ladies Sweatpants”.  That exam  yielded a treasure trove of poorly packaged footwear, handbags and textiles bearing protected trademarks such as Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Adida’s Yeezy designer footwear line.  Officers suspected that the imported merchandise may have been counterfeit due to its poor quality of workmanship, packaging inconsistent with genuine merchandise, and previous experience with similar products.

CBP  worked in cooperation with Consumer Products and Mass Merchandise, Centers for Excellence and Expertise Import Division, determined that the items were in-fact counterfeit and infringing on protected trademarks. CBP provided the importer an opportunity to provide documentation of applicable licenses or agreements permitting the use of those registered trademarks prior to the seizure.

In fiscal year 20, CBP processed $2.4 trillion in imports, ensuring that goods coming into the country are safe and legal.  By the end of the last fiscal year, CBP recorded more than 23,700 seizures of counterfeit goods, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.


U.S. EPA Settles with New York's Quest USA Corp. for Importing Unregistered Disinfectant Product into Los Angeles - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

LOS ANGELES — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached a settlement with Quest USA Corp. for violations of federal pesticide law. The company, based in New York, illegally imported alcohol wipes that were not registered with the EPA through the Port of Long Beach. As the product was not EPA-registered, neither its public health claims or potential effects on human health and environment have been evaluated. The company has agreed to pay a $213,668 civil penalty.

“Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, EPA has worked to ensure that the public has access to effective surface disinfectants,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “EPA will continue to monitor for illegal products with unproven or misleading public health claims.”

EPA has been working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to identify and block entry of illegal products, many of which are being imported from China. In this case, Quest attempted to import over 650,000 wipes in 20 shipments into the United States. The Quest products, BioPure Multipurpose Wipes, were halted under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which prohibits the distribution or sale of unregistered pesticides. The company also failed to file required documents stating that it was importing pesticides into the United States.

Under FIFRA, purported disinfectant products that claim to kill or repel viruses, bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. Public health claims can only be made regarding products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA. The agency will not register a pesticide until it has been determined that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. Products not registered by EPA can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs.

EPA has released an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains over 500 additional products—including products that went through the expedited review process for emerging viral pathogens.

To view the most up-to-date list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
 
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