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FTC to hold hearings on competition and consumer protection

The FTC has announced that beginning in September 2018, it will hold a series of 15 to 20 public hearings “on whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy.”

In advance of the start of the hearings, the FTC is seeking public comment on 11 topics that include:

  • The state of antitrust and consumer protection law and enforcement, and its development since the FTC’s 1995 “Global Competition and Innovation Hearings”
  • Competition and consumer protection issues in communication, information, and media technology networks
  • The  intersection between privacy, big data, and competition
  • The FTC’s remedial authority to deter unfair and deceptive conduct in privacy and data security matters
  • The consumer welfare implications associated with the use of algorithmic decision tools, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics
  • The interpretation and harmonization of state and federal statutes and regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive acts and practices
  • The FTC’s investigation, enforcement, and remedial processes

The FTC will accept comments on the 11 topics through August 20, 2018.  Comments can address one or more of the 11 topics generally, or can address them with respect to a specific industry.  The FTC will also invite comments on the topic of each hearing.  It plans to issue a news release before each hearing with information about the agenda, date, and location, and with instructions on submitting comments.  In addition, it plans to invite public comment after the entire series of hearings is completed.

Among the purposes of the hearings and public comment process is to “stimulate thoughtful internal and external evaluation of the FTC’s near- and long-term law enforcement and policy agenda.”  The FTC has indicated that the hearings “may identify areas for enforcement and policy guidance, including improvements to the agency’s investigation and law enforcement processes, as well as areas that warrant additional study.”

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About this Author

Barbara S. Mishkin, Ballard Spahr, Philadelphia, Deceptive Practices Lawyer, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Gramm Leach Bliley
Of Counsel

Barbara Mishkin focuses on consumer compliance and banking law. The federal laws with which Ms. Mishkin has dealt extensively include the Truth in Lending Act, Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. She also has significant experience with state usury and lender licensing laws, as well as state laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

American Bar Association, member, Consumer Financial Services Committee;...

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