Senators Call on FTC to Conduct Privacy Rulemaking

September 20, 2021

Nine Democratic Senators led by Senator Richard Blumenthal have called on the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a rulemaking process to “protect consumer privacy, promote civil rights, and set clear safeguards on the collection and use of personal data in the digital economy.” “Americans’ identities have become the currency in an unregulated, hidden economy of data brokers that buy and sell sensitive information about their families, religious beliefs, healthcare needs, and every movement to shadowy interests, often without their awareness and consent,” the Senators said. Senators Schatz, Wyden, Warren, Coons, Luján, Klobuchar, Booker, and Markey joined Senator Blumenthal on the letter. 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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