FTC says firm that offered online privacy certificates didn't check compliance

Federal regulators say a respected Internet company failed to check whether commercial websites and mobile apps bearing its seal of approval were indeed meeting its standards for protecting users' privacy and customers' data.

The company known as TRUSTe must pay $200,000 to settle a complaint alleging deceptive practices brought by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC says the San Francisco company failed to conduct annual reviews of websites and apps that displayed the TRUSTe privacy seal. The commission also says the company let websites describe TRUSTe as a nonprofit service even after it became a for-profit business.

TRUSTe says it regrets not living up to its own standards. It says it conducted reviews in most cases, and has now fixed the problems identified by the FTC.