At hearing, US lawmakers consider anti-trust's role in privacy regulation

(May 22, 2019) At a hearing at the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Tuesday, lawmakers grappled with how to handle regulating the advertising technology industry and whether current anti-trust laws are equipped to address concerns that tech behemoths that own the most user data may have a monopoly.  Just a week after the latest in a series of hearings on a potential federal privacy law, senators questioned the five witnesses in front of them on whether such a law could or should help regulate an industr... Read More

US lawmakers weigh the role of anti-trust in privacy regulation

(May 22, 2019) A week after a series of hearings discussing a potential federal privacy law, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary revisited the topic in another hearing Tuesday. This time, the committee was asking whether such a law could or should help regulate an industry that has, to date, generally gone unregulated. Lawmakers remain at odds on how to handle regulating the advertising technology industry and are skeptical as to whether current anti-trust laws can address concerns that tech giants may ... Read More

FTC grants deadline extension for Safeguards Rule comments

(May 22, 2019) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced it is extending the deadline for comments on proposed changes to Safeguards Rule to Aug. 2. The FTC began seeking comments in March regarding the rule, which focuses on information security programs at financial institutions. Despite the 60-day extension for comments on the Safeguards Rule, the FTC is sticking to a June 3 deadline for comments on the changes to the Privacy Rule, which requires institutions to communicate with customers about sharin... Read More

Brookings survey debates digital privacy, data security practices

(May 22, 2019) The Brookings Institution has published the results of a recent online survey of 2,006 Americans on topics related to digital privacy and consumer data security. One of the more revealing conclusions was nearly three-quarters of respondents often ignore business terms of service, making notice and consent requirements unproductive. The survey also showed that 67% of people would prefer one set of government rules regarding how companies manage online consumer data, while 78% wants the U.S. Feder... Read More

Facebook, FTC nearing deal with 20-year oversight

(May 14, 2019) CNBC reports the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is close to finalizing a settlement with Facebook that would include 20 years of oversight, in addition to previously reported fines. While an official agreement is not expected before the end of May, Facebook is already preparing for its fine after recently setting aside $3 billion. The reported oversight clause in this potential deal draws a parallel to a similar clause in the 2011 settlement between the FTC and the social network.Full Story... Read More

FTC's final hearing session to take place June 12

(May 13, 2019) The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced the final installment of its Hearings Initiative will take place June 12 at the Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska. The hearing will feature several state attorneys general who will discuss big data and privacy, the challenges facing state enforcers, and collaborations on the federal and state level. Final comments for all the hearings conducted by the FTC can be submitted until June 30.Full Story... Read More

Facebook co-founder calls for its break up

(May 10, 2019) In an op-ed for The New York Times’ Privacy Project, Facebook Co-Founder Chris Hughes, who left the social network's ranks a decade ago, writes that the time is now to rein in his former company and create a new standard for privacy and accountability for all big tech companies. Hughes blamed himself and those involved in Facebook's infancy for "not thinking more about how the News Feed algorithm could change our culture" but also wrote that Facebook has gone from "a project developed in our dor... Read More

FTC chairman pleads with House subcommittee: 'No broad rulemaking authority'

(May 9, 2019) At a hearing Wednesday at the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, lawmakers once again asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission what it needs to carry out its mandate on consumer protection and how a federal privacy bill could best support that mission. Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., noted the FTC's lean numbers. While the FTC has 40 staffers working on enforcing data protection for 300 million consumers, its global counterparts have staffs 10 times that number, in some cases.... Read More

At (yet another) House hearing on FTC, chairman pleads: 'No broad rulemaking authority'

(May 9, 2019) While lawmakers at the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee hearing at the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday seemed framed to discuss what kinds of resources the U.S. Federal Trade Commission needs to fulfill its mandate on consumer protection, the five commissioners on hand were ready to make more specific asks — namely, not to be given "broad" rulemaking authority for civil penalty authority that would give the agency some credibility and for lawmakers to first consider wh... Read More

Advocacy groups allege kids' smart speaker violates COPPA

(May 9, 2019) A group of 19 privacy and consumer advocacy organizations alleges Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition’s collection of voice recordings and identifying information violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, The Washington Post reports. The complaint states the online portal for the device does not have an effective system to obtain parental consent, adding that Amazon holds onto the voice recordings longer than necessary. Amazon Spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall said the device is compliant with... Read More