FTC Initiates Privacy and Data Security Rule-Making

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today initiated a potentially yearslong attempt to impose new data security and privacy regulations onto the American economy. Agency commissioners voted along party lines to initiate the rule-making process. Democratic Chair Lina Khan charged technology companies with running roughshod over consumer preferences, while the two Republican commissioners accused Democrats of going beyond the agency’s authority. “A significant majority of Americans today feel that they have scant control over the data collected on them and believe the risks of data collection by commercial entities outweigh the benefits,” Khan said in a statement. Today’s advanced notice of proposed rule-making doesn’t recommend specific regulations. It instead calls for comment on a range of practices that stem from what critics have termed “surveillance capitalism” – the practice of influencing consumers through analytics culled from vast troves of behavioral data collected through smartphone apps and other smart devices. The FTC says comments on the notice could guide future potential rule-making touching on topics ranging from algorithmic bias to data security. 

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