Today, Public Knowledge joined the Yale Law School Technology Accountability and Competition Project, a division of the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, in filing comments in the Federal Trade Commission’s proceeding on the prevalence of commercial surveillance and data security practices that harm consumers. The agency seeks comment on whether it should implement new trade regulation rules concerning how companies collect, use, and retain consumer data, as well as transfer, share, sell, or otherwise monetize that data in unfair or deceptive ways.
Public Knowledge urges the agency to go beyond codifying the current failed notice and choice framework and build a data protection regime predicated on data minimization, data access rights for consumers, and protection of civil rights. Furthermore, Public Knowledge cautions the agency against over reliance on consent or anonymization techniques to solve for consumer harms that arise from data collection, use, and sale mechanisms. Public Knowledge also encourages the FTC to use its “truth in advertising” expertise as a foundation for building rules governing AI; in other words, the algorithm has to effectively and accurately do the thing the creators claim it can do.
The following can be attributed to Sara Collins, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“We are excited to see the FTC take this important first step in the rulemaking process. In order for this process to be truly consumer-friendly, the agency has to create structural rules that change industry conduct. Those rules should include data minimization and retention rules, data security standards, and AI assessments that test for efficacy and fairness.
“Under Chair Khan’s leadership, we have seen the FTC use tools like algorithmic disgorgement to discourage deceptive data collection. Hopefully that creativity and consumer protection mindset informs this rulemaking to create a more fair digital economy.”
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