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Eric Risberg / AP

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it — along with 32 state attorneys general from around the country — had settled charges against Lenovo, Inc.

  • Lenovo preinstalled an advertising program called VisualDiscovery, manufactured by a third-party called Snapfish, that displayed pop-up ads based on a user's browsing history.
  • This "man-in-the-middle" technique collected the entirety of users' electronic communications without their knowledge or consent and put their information at risk of intrusion.
  • It's the "online equivalent of someone without your knowledge intercepting your mail, reading it, resealing it, and placing it back in your mailbox," said FTC Acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen.

Why it matters: The Lenovo case shows a renewed commitment by the FTC to pursue consumer privacy cases. As highlighted by Ohlhausen in a call with reporters, this is the third privacy ruling handed down by the FTC in the last 30 days after similar cases involving Uber and TaxSlayer.

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.

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