Posts Tagged ‘minors’

Hello Kitty Champagne on Sale in San Francisco – You Know, For Kids!

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Well I suppose it’s really for adults, you know, legally!

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Speaking of legalities, I suppose it’s actually sparkling wine and not champagne*

Kanpai, keiki, kanpai!

*You can sell “California Champagne” legally in the USA, but only the stuff from certain operators. If, for whatever reason, it ends up in France, they’ll call it counterfeit and then destroy it, oh well.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Says “MeetMe.Com” Enables Sexual Predators and Child Stalkers

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

All the deets:

“MeetMe.com enables sexual predators and child stalkers, San Francisco’s lawsuit contendsSocial network’s unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos and geolocation data has been used to victimize children as young as 13 years of age — and younger

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 3, 2014) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against MeetMe, a popular social networking platform that facilitates interactions among strangers, over inadequate privacy protections and unlawful publication of minors’ profiles, photos, and location data, which can enable sexual predators and stalkers to target children as young as 13 years of age.

The civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning alleges that the New Hope, Pa.-based MeetMe, Inc. is violating California’s Unfair Competition Law by relying on legally invalid consent from minors between the ages of 13 and 17 to collect and improperly distribute their real-time geolocation and personal user information.  Approximately 25 percent of MeetMe.com’s user base is under the age of 18, according to social media marketing statistics cited in Herrera’s complaint.  The lawsuit additionally alleges that MeetMe fails to adequately disclose to users how their personal data is distributed.

“MeetMe has become a tool of choice for sexual predators to target underage victims, and the company’s irresponsible privacy policies and practices are to blame for it,” said Herrera.  “MeetMe improperly collects personal information from young teens — including their photos and real-time locations.  It then distributes that information in ways that expose children to very serious safety risks.  Sadly, these risks aren’t hypothetical.  Dozens of children nationwide have already been victimized by predators who used MeetMe to coerce minors into meeting.  Under California law, MeetMe’s reckless business practices are illegal, and we’re asking a court to put an end to them.”

MeetMe has been a key factor in numerous crimes involving sexual assault and illicit sex with minors in California, according to news reports documented in Herrera’s complaint.  In Aug. 2013, a 29-year-old Citrus Heights, Calif. man was charged with multiple counts of sexual acts with a minor and communicating with minors for unlawful purposes.  Police investigators found that MeetMe was among the apps the perpetrator used to send sexually-explicit photos and text messages to underage girls in order to begin a “sexting” relationship that ultimately progressed to sexual contact.  A Fresno, Calif. man was arrested in Oct. 2013 on suspicion of sexually assaulting a minor that he met using MeetMe, according to news reports, and in July 2013 a 21-year-old Fair Oaks, Calif. man was criminally charged after posing as a 16-year-old boy to have sex with two girls — aged 12 and 15 — whom he met using MeetMe.

Dozens of minors nationwide have been similarly victimized in sex crimes by predators who relied on MeetMe to target their underage victims, according to reports cited in the complaint.  In June 2013, a Tewksbury, Mass. man was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to more than 50 charges, including rape of a child by force, indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.  The man used multiple aliases on MeetMe to trick teenage girls into sending him nude images.  He then threatened to publish the photos in order to blackmail victims into having sex with him.  A Wilmerding, Penn. man, who was criminally charged in Sept. 2013, used MeetMe to meet and then sexually assault three teenagers.  In Grady County, Okla., a 25-year-old man used MeetMe to meet and rape a 15-year-old girl.  An Albuquerque TV news station, reporting on MeetMe’s role in the case of a 21-year-old man who was arrested for soliciting sex with a 13-year-old girl, noted: “Investigators say it’s the latest site predators are cruising to find new victims, and it’s happening all too often.”

The lawsuit, which was investigated and filed by Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit, is seeking a court order to enjoin MeetMe from continuing to engage in activities in California that violate state law; civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each violation found to have occurred in the state; and costs of the City Attorney’s lawsuit.

About the S.F. City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office’s Consumer Protection Unit pursues public interest civil cases under California’s Unfair Competition Law, which are funded virtually exclusively by civil recoveries — not taxpayer dollars.  The award-winning program, for which the National Association of Consumer Advocates recognized Dennis Herrera as its 2009 Consumer Attorney of the Year, reflects voter-enacted changes to California law that require civil penalties recovered by public prosecutors to be used exclusively to enforce consumer protection laws.  Since voters passed the amendments as part of Proposition 64 in 2004, Herrera’s Consumer Protection Unit has recovered some $20 million in successful battles against unlawful business practices that include price-fixing, illegal marketing, credit card collections arbitration scams and more.  The unit’s work has helped win equally important industry reforms to help protect consumer privacy, end discriminatory practices in health insurance and media metrics, protect immigrants, halt predatory evictions, and obtain recoveries for victims of wage theft.

The litigation is: People of the State of California ex rel. Dennis Herrera v. MeetMe, Inc. et al. (San Francisco Superior Court Case No. 537126, filed Feb. 3, 2014).  Complete documentation on the case is available at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

Supervisor Eric Mar and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma Host Meeting Regarding Alcohol Sales at Self Checkout Machines

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Word from District One Supervisor Eric Mar:

“Please join me this Friday along with Assemblywoman Fiona Ma for a community meeting to discuss Assembly Bill 183, regarding Alcohol and Self-Checkout machines at grocery stores/supermarkets. Leaders in our community have expressed concerns about the sale of alcohol to minors and intoxicated persons through automated self-checkout machines. Learn more about what we’re doing and how we can work together to make our communities safer.

When: Friday September 16th
Time: 5pm – 6pm
Location: Richmond Branch Library, 351 9th Avenue”

See?

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I’ll spare you my thoughts (cough regarding unions! NIMBYs! cough) on this matter.

Jerry Brown Throws Down: No More Strawberry, Chocolate, Banana or Cookies-and-Cream Flavored E-Cigarettes for Kids

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Our California Attorney General Jerry Brown can’t abide companies that market electronic cigarettes to minors, so he just did something about it, again. All the deets, below.

Mmmmm…. yummers:

El Protector de la Gente, Jerry Brown:

via Thomas Hawk

Electronic Cigarette Maker Agrees to Stop Marketing to Minors

OAKLAND – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced a settlement to prevent Smoking Everywhere, one of the country’s largest electronic cigarette sellers, from targeting minors and claiming that its products are a safe alternative to smoking.

“Smoking Everywhere aimed ads at minors and falsely claimed its products were safe,” Brown said. “This settlement stops the company from marketing these addictive products to kids or claiming they aren’t dangerous.”

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices with nicotine cartridges designed to look and feel like conventional cigarettes. Instead of actual smoke, e-cigarettes produce a vapor from the nicotine cartridge that is inhaled by the user.

Smoking Everywhere and other electronic cigarette makers have claimed that e-cigarettes are safe because they contain no carcinogens or tar, and produce no second-hand smoke.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, found that some electronic cigarettes contain a variety of dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, carcinogens such as nitrosamines, and one brand also contained diethylene glycol, commonly known as antifreeze.

Some e-cigarettes come in strawberry, chocolate, mint, banana and cookies-and-cream flavors designed to appeal to a young audience.

Today’s settlement prohibits Smoking Everywhere from marketing to minors and from making false or misleading claims about electronic cigarettes. Specifically, the company has agreed that it will not:

- Market or sell electronic cigarettes to minors. Its website will be age-restricted, and a customer will need to show a government-issued ID. Retail products will be behind a counter. Advertising must note the age restriction.
- Sell flavored electronic cigarette cartridges such as strawberry, mint or bubblegum that could appeal to minors.
- Advertise its products as a smoking cessation device unless the FDA approves them for that purpose.
- Claim that its products are safer than cigarettes or contain no tobacco, tar or carcinogens, and produce no second-hand smoke unless there is competent reliable scientific evidence to support the claims.

Smoking Everywhere also agreed to implement quality control standards to eliminate harmful substances in its products and submit to independent audits.

Smoking Everywhere will also provide a Proposition 65 warning that its products contain nicotine, a chemical known to be addictive and to cause birth defects or reproductive harm. The warning must appear on product packaging, Smoking Everywhere’s website and at retail sites.

Smoking Everywhere and its owner will pay $170,000 in penalties and fees.

Jerry Brown Throws Down: Penalizes Maker of Cookies and Cream-Flavored Electronic Cigarettes

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Our California Attorney General Jerry Brown can’t abide companies that market electronic cigarettes to minors, so he just did something about it. All the deets, below.

Mmmmm…. yummers:

El Protector de la Gente, Jerry Brown:

via Thomas Hawk

Brown Announces Electronic Cigarette Maker’s Agreement to Stop Deceptive Marketing and Sales to Minors

OAKLAND – Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announceda settlement with Sottera, one of the country’s largest electronic cigarette producers, to prevent the company from targeting minors and claiming that electronic cigarettes are a safe alternative to smoking.

“Electronic cigarette companies have targeted minors with fruit-flavored products and misleading claims that their products are safe,” Brown said. “This settlement will stop Sottera from marketing these dangerous and addictive products to kids.”

Brown and Sottera reached the settlement without litigation based on Sottera’s willingness to adopt measures that address Brown’s concerns about the dangers of its electronic cigarettes. In January this year, Brown filed suit against the nation’s other leading e-cigarette retailer, Smoking Everywhere. That lawsuit is proceeding in Alameda County Superior Court.

All the deets after the jump

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