Acting FTC Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter today announced the creation of a new rulemaking group within the FTC. The announcement follows criticism that the FTC has not adequately used its authorities, including its rulemaking power, to address consumer protection harms and promote competition. Section 18 of the FTC Act enables the Commission to issue trade regulation rules to address unfair or deceptive practices that occur commonly. Once the commission has promulgated a trade regulation rule, it may seek civil penalties for each violation of the rule. “I believe that we can and must use our rulemaking authority to deliver effective deterrence for the novel harms of the digital economy and persistent old scams alike,” Acting Chair Slaughter said. EPIC has long urged the FTC to impose clear privacy obligations on companies that collect and use personal data, including by exercising the Commission's underused rulemaking power. In 2020, EPIC filed a petition with the FTC calling on the Commission to conduct a rulemaking on the use of artificial intelligence in commercial settings. "By defining unfair and deceptive practices ex ante, and with specificity, a trade regulation rule would make it easier for the FTC to take action against parties that harm consumers," EPIC explained.
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