U.S. Federal Trade Commission Begins Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century
On September 13 and 14, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), together with Georgetown University Law Center, will co-sponsor the first in a series of Hearings on Competition and Consumer Privacy in the 21st Century. These public forums will consider whether changes in the economy, technology, and emerging business practices warrant changes to law, enforcement and policy. Specifically, they will consider whether these changes require expansion of the FTC’s enforcement power over corporate privacy practices. At a House of Representatives subcommittee meeting on July 18, FTC Chairman Joseph Simons’ stated that the FTC’s current authority to do so, under Section 5 of the FTC Act, is inadequate.
A Federal Register Notice (FRN), published August 6, 2018, offers details about the FTC’s areas of interest with respect to the adequacy of existing law and scope of its authority. While the FRN notes wide-ranging topics for discussion, with respect to data protection and privacy, the hearings will consider the following:
- The intersection between privacy, big data, and competition.
- The Commission’s remedial authority to deter unfair and deceptive conduct in privacy and data security matters.
- The consumer welfare implications associated with the use of algorithmic decision tools, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics.
The use of new technologies and new data uses is increasingly widespread. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, sensor-based technology for surveillance, use of big data and algorithms are powerful tools in the hands of companies. They make it possible for businesses to profile and better understand their customers and prospects, predict trends in the market and consumer behavior, and develop exciting and innovative new product and service offerings. Even if your organization doesn’t deploy these yet, you likely will – either directly, or through vendors. These technologies and data processing tools are on the horizon if not already here, and the FTC’s oversight of these practices can greatly affect your data protection responsibilities.
Achieved Compliance will attend the Hearings and keep you apprised of important developments in the discussion. However, the FTC will provide an opportunity for the public to comment on these issues in formal written submissions. If you are interested in submitting comments, Achieved Compliance can help you articulate and frame your concerns and develop comments for the FTC that persuasively set forth your position on the issues.
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Through its software guided review and remediation process, education tools and representation services, Achieved Compliance makes it possible for companies to take all the steps needed for meaningful compliance that meets regulators’ expectations.
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