Digital Rights Group welcomes the FTC’s proposed privacy rules

On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) for potential new trade surveillance and data security rules. It is considering rules to limit abuses of digital privacy, protect children, combat unlawful algorithmic discrimination and strengthen data security practices.

Digital rights groups have long complained that the FTC is not doing enough to protect people’s privacy. They welcomed this proposal, which comes as Congress reviews America’s privacy law.

“Through this ANPR, the Commission aims to establish a public record of prevailing commercial surveillance practices or lax data security practices that are unfair or deceptive, and efficient, effective, and adaptive regulatory responses,” the FTC said.

“These comments will help sharpen the Commission’s enforcement work and may inform reforms by Congress or other policymakers, even if the Commission ultimately does not announce new trade regulation rules.”

According to the FTC, the ANPR captures only a “fraction of the potential consumer harm that could result from lax data security or commercial surveillance practices,” so it is soliciting public comment on the prospective new regulations.

This is just the first step in what will likely be a lengthy process. The FTC could ultimately refuse to issue new rules.

Digital rights groups celebrated the announcement.

“People want and deserve sensible rules to protect their privacy,” said Alexandra Reeve Givens, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Democracy and Technology, in a press release.

“We applaud the FTC for starting this process and advocating for privacy rules more broadly. We look forward to participating in this process and helping to develop a strong public record of the need for meaningful privacy protection.”

Justin Brookman, Consumer Reports’ director of technology policy, called the announcement a “critical step” in bringing new privacy rules to Americans.

“As we continue to support federal and state efforts to enact and enforce comprehensive privacy laws, consumers can no longer wait for their personal information to be protected,” he said.

“The FTC has the power to issue clear rules to protect personal information by holding companies accountable for unintended collection, use, and disclosure of information. We encourage them to use this power to protect American consumers.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said that while the new rules are not a substitute for action by Congress, he applauds the FTC for taking steps to protect privacy and digital rights.

“As a longtime advocate for comprehensive privacy protections, I wholeheartedly support the FTC’s efforts to explore strong online privacy rules,” Markey said in a statement.

“I thank [FTC] chair [Lina] Khan for her tireless work to protect consumers and look forward to working with her and the rest of the Commission on this process.”

The FTC also announced a public forum for September 8th to more clearly explain the rulemaking process and the scope of any rules it may implement. The public is invited to register to speak at the virtual event.

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*Initial publication: August 11, 2022 at 2:10 p.m. CDT

Jacob Seitz

Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.

Jacob Seitz Digital Rights Group welcomes the FTC’s proposed privacy rules

Jaclyn Diaz

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