A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Senators Ron Wyden [D-Ore.] and BIll Cassidy [R-La.] today called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the online ad economy. Wyden, Cassidy and other members asked the FTC to investigate how personal data, including the tracking of individuals at places of worship and protests, collected from Americans’ phones to deliver advertisements is being obtained by data brokers and sold without the knowledge or consent of users. The lawmakers urged the FTC to open a 6(b) investigation into the matter. Earlier this year, consumer groups called on the FTC to use its 6(b) authority to conduct a study on companies collecting data on children. No action has been taken on that request. In addition to Sens. Wyden and Cassidy, the letter is signed by Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Edward Markey, D-Mass. Reps. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif, Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Yvette D. Clarke, D-N.Y., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., signed as well. EPIC has filed many detailed complaints with the FTC regarding consumer privacy and has called for the creation of a U.S. Data Protection Agency due to the FTC's lack of action on privacy issues.
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