Reed Freeman, Chelsea Reckell, Howard Beales
The current Federal Trade Commission is the most aggressive FTC since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Its focus is broad, with priority targets including repeat offenders, technology companies and digital platforms, healthcare businesses. Its priority areas of focus are equally broad, including enforcement, new rulemakings (with changes made at the FTC’s first Open Meeting in July 2021 to streamline the FTC’s rulemaking procedures), including one that has the chance to become a de facto national privacy law, by rule: to “curb lax [data] security practices, limit privacy abuses, and ensure that algorithmic decision-making does not result in unlawful discrimination.” Other areas of current FTC focus include data minimization, “surveillance advertising,” (for which the FTC accepted comments on a petition for rulemaking on the topic), data security, the potential for algorithmic and biometric bias, children’s privacy, and “dark patterns,” (deceptive and manipulative conduct on the Internet), as well as topics addressed in the FTC’s Notice Of Penalty Offence letters: endorsements and testimonials; acts and practices in the education marketplace; and deceptive money-making opportunities. The last time the FTC was this aggressive, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Congress stripped it of both money and authority. Could that happen again? This session will explore the new FTC with a goal of educating attendees of its priorities and how to stay out of its crosshairs.
Reed Freeman, Partner, Venable
Chelsea Reckell, Associate, Venable
Howard Beales, Professor Emeritus of Strategic Management & Public Policy, George Washington University