The FTC launched the notice of potential rulemaking on Thursday and began seeking comment on a long list of detailed issues, launching an effort to protect consumers that will no doubt draw furious opposition from industry groups. businesses.
“The increasing digitization of our economy – coupled with business models that can incentivize the endless vacuuming of sensitive user data and a vast expansion of how that data is used – means that potentially illegal practices can be widespread. “said FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan. statement.
While Khan pointed out that the FTC wonders whether it should even regulate in particular areas, Khan has long made clear his interest in issuing data rules and his skepticism of Big Tech’s advertising machine by particular. In June, she told Protocol, “[T]The behavioral advertising business model creates a certain set of incentives that are not always aligned with protecting people’s privacy.
The FTC switch off dozens of questions in 44 page manualon areas ranging from digital advertisements and consumer information security to biometrics, psychological harm, corporate structure, child and adolescent protection, algorithmic discrimination and accuracy, and the adequacy of existing safeguards with demands on practices in health care, finance, and other industries.
For example, the FTC asked: “To what extent, if any, should the Commission prohibit companies that provide specifically listed services (e.g., finance, healthcare, research, or social media) to own or operate a business that engages in any specific commercial surveillance practices such as personalized or targeted advertising?”
Khan’s effort comes just weeks after the House introduced a major data protection bill out of committee – the furthest step so far from such a move in Congress, though it always faces headwinds. Khan told Protocol in that June interview that the FTC would likely continue despite lawmakers’ efforts. These efforts are slowly gaining support from consumer groups and civil rights advocates, some of whom have also famous the FTC’s decision on Thursday. Despite support for the legislative proposal, even though it also makes concessions that appear to appeal to some corporate interests, Senator Maria Cantwell is delaying the effort.
Overall, the industry would greatly prefer Congress, where lawmakers need a compromise to pass bills, to determine what privacy looks like in the United States, rather than the three Democrats in the committee of five members.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the three Democratic commissioners repeatedly stressed that no matter the scope of their questions at this time, they would abide by the law. terms that they are only trying to regulate specific “unfair or deceptive acts” that are demonstrated to be prevalent. The three also praised the efforts of Congress and suggested that if lawmakers were successful in passing the current privacy bill, it would change the priorities of the commission.
“Hopefully that will pass soon,” said Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya, a longtime privacy expert. “This process is not going to interfere with this effort. the [bill] pass, I will not vote for any rule that overlaps with this one.
Still, the process ahead is likely to be bumpy. The FTC must take even more steps and provide greater opportunities for public and business feedback than most other federal agencies, which often spend months or years crafting their regulations. Additionally, business groups, such as the American Chamber of Commerce, have vowed to fight Khan’s program as hard as they can, including in court. They may also find allies in the justice system, after a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year signaled that federal courts should take a deeply skeptical view of the extended rules.
This article was updated on August 11 to include new comments from FTC Commissioners.