FTC Signals It May Conduct Privacy, AI, & Civil Rights Rulemaking

December 10, 2021

The Federal Trade Commission announced Friday that it is considering using its rulemaking authority “to curb lax security practices, limit privacy abuses, and ensure that algorithmic decision-making does not result in unlawful discrimination.” The disclosure came as part of the Commission’s semiannual regulatory agenda and statement of regulatory priorities. Under the FTC Act, the Commission is empowered to issue rules that define certain trade practices—such as the misuse of personal information—as unfair or deceptive. The Commission can also establish rules to prevent businesses from engaging in those unfair or deceptive practices. EPIC and coalition partners recently called on the FTC to initiate a rulemaking to promote civil rights and protect against abusive data practices. EPIC also filed a petition last year that specifically called on the FTC to initiate a rulemaking on commercial uses of algorithmic decision-making and artificial intelligence.

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