Robert Pitofsky Like FTC Consumer Protection Hearings

In late 2018, the FTC conducted a series of hearings on competition and consumer protection in the 21st Century.  The hearings are largely similar to 1995 policy research hearings under the leadership of former Chairman Robert Pitofsky.  They brought together leaders in business, economics, and law to consider whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies or international developments require adjustments to competition and consumer protection law, enforcement priorities and policy.

Pitofsky’s Consumer Protection Hearings Included:

*      Antitrust and consumer protection enforcement policy since the Pitofsky hearings
*      Regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive acts and practices
*      Privacy, data security, and big data
*      The expansion of the agency’s remedial authority
*      Policy surrounding the promotion of technological innovation
*      Artificial intelligence and predictive analytics and
*      Collusive and predatory market conduct

Particular focus was placed upon how digital marketplaces harvest data and how operators set the rules for buying and selling in the marketplaces.  The FTC noted that mass data collection and analysis can be used to form individualized pricing and that it is dedicated to the devotion of additional resources to learn about companies’ data collection practices, their use of predictive analytics and the methods by which data is monetized.

The FTC continues to engage with stakeholders about the current and future landscape of consumer protection enforcement and the regulation of consumer data   It is expected that the hearings have set the FTC’s enforcement agenda for the immediate future.

FTC Hearings Summary:

The Federal Trade Commission will continue to focus on the intersection of privacy, the use of big data and artificial intelligence. Central issues surrounding data for online advertising, how platforms are using data, how their that affects competition, and the impact of privacy regulation on competition will likely be regulatory hot topics for the immediate future.

Richard B. Newman is an advertising compliance and defense attorney at Hinch Newman LLP.   Contact him via email at [email protected] or via telephone at 1 (212) 756-8777.

Attorney advertising. Informational purposes only. Not legal advice. Previous case results do not guarantee a similar future result.