Democrat-appointed FTC Commissioner Lina Khan and Republican FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips both spoke at the International Association of Privacy Professionals’ (IAPP) Global Privacy Summit as the FTC stalled on its tiebreaker appointment.
Many problems, including two Republicans and two Democrats, face a 2-2 stalemate – especially when it comes to data privacy, and some, including FTC Commissioner Lina Khan, refer to it as a “surveillance ad”.
Last month, Senate Democrat Alvaro Bedoa, a Georgetown privacy attorney and consumer privacy advocate, advanced nominations. Commissioner Noah Phillips, a Republican, welcomed the nomination, hoping to end the checkmate that has slowed the agency and slowed its implementation.
“Historically, the FTC has not always had mobility [one of] Consensus, ”Phillips said. The idea is to get things done, even if it should be done silently. A general agreement is ideal for consumer protection, but “only we can make policy changes [pass] With a 3-2, “he said,” but how much and how often, we don’t know. “
“I hope the new majority will not behave like the old majority,” Phillips added, referring to former Democratic commissioner Rohit Chopra, who left the agency in October. A recent opinion piece with Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson, along with Phillips, paints a picture of dead-end resentment, not bilateral cooperation.
Nevertheless, the new leadership will not solve the old problem. The current commissioners are still at a standstill on “surveillance advertising”, including what the FTC should or should not do about online privacy.
Surveillance ads have two opinions
FTC Commissioner and Chair Lina Khan warned of the dangers of “commercial surveillance” during her keynote address on Monday.
“Digital technology allows [for] Data collection at a hyper-granular level, “he said.” And more and more we rely on digital tools. [daily] Work, [more] Large scope of data collection, [from] Keystroke usage and browser history in location and health records.
In addition to sounding the alarm about online data collection, Khan also spoke of unscrupulous business practices related to social media and targeted advertising.
“Across the domain, companies can analyze stunningly detailed user profiles for targeting [ads] Striking with precision, ”he said. “The general lack of legal limits has resulted in a growing economy of data buying and selling – this has led companies to create a wide range of tools to monitor users across devices.”
Against the general argument that digital technology provides free services in exchange for data, he said: “Firms may provide free services, but they [choose to] Make money by vacuuming data. “
A business running for free is certainly not an oxymoron – an international social platform for Facebook and TikTok users from the purest of their hearts – but there is a limit to the appropriate data collection. It’s a matter of where to draw the line.
Khan made a formidable case. But Commissioner Noah Phillips strongly disagrees with the “narrative” of surveillance advertisements, which he says Commissioner Khan and Rebecca Slater have been “pressuring for years.”
The term “surveillance advertising” is a blanket term that refers to individuals using the company’s personal data to target advertising. But Phillips further stressed that market power does not determine a company’s potential for fraudulent or unfair practices.
“Bad actors aren’t just big people – they can be little boys,” Phillips said. “We do [work with] In some cases, large companies with monopoly power are involved… but in many cases, smaller companies are involved, and some of the worst of the losses they cause are, ”he said, citing spyware, ransomware and stock apps.
By using the term “surveillance”, he argues, “surveillance” restores the objectivity of data use and misuse problems by instilling fear of non-harmful practices.
“It sounds like J. Edgar Hoover and Quintelpro,” he said, referring to the FBI’s work in the 1950s where Hoover instructed agents to spy on, reveal and disrespect the Black Panthers.
The next step
Although the FTC has historically operated under the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which protects consumers from “unfair and fraudulent” practices, the digital world operates by different – and much more – complex rules.
Commissioner Khan thinks the FTC can and should do much more.
“The FTC is responsible for ensuring that our legal tools and procedures keep pace with business practices,” Khan said.
It is understandable, but Commissioner Phillips warns of patience.
“There’s a broad attitude that the more rules we make, the better society will be,” he said, “and I don’t think that’s right.”
In particular, Phillips is concerned that the FTC is entering the legislature.
The point is, when it comes to pushing for legislation, “Congress should [that]We don’t, “Phillips said.