Meet Maneesha Mithal

Associate Director, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection

Most importantly, we’ve made a real difference for consumers.
I came to the Federal Trade Commission in 1999, after spending four years as an associate at a big law firm. After spending so much time reviewing documents, I was thrilled to join the FTC’s international program in the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The program was new and consisted of three lawyers, including me. It was exciting to be part of a growing program that addressed the cutting-edge issues we faced at the turn of the millennium, like e-commerce and spam. As a junior attorney, I helped craft the mission of the FTC’s international consumer protection program from the ground up. I helped put together public workshops on “Consumer Protection in the in the Global Marketplace” and “Online Dispute Resolution.” I attended international meetings with delegates from about 30 countries. I remember sitting behind a U.S. flag, wearing headphones to hear the simultaneous translation, and being referred to as “the delegate from the United States of America.” In addition, I helped draft a law that gave the FTC new tools to address cross-border fraud and the globalization of consumer protection issues. I didn’t think it could get much better, but it has.
 
After a stint working for the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, I joined the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. My first project was to develop a rule on the privacy of personal health records. I loved working on the intersection of health, privacy, and administrative procedure concerns. I’m now the Associate Director of the Division and get to lead a world-class staff of dedicated, smart, creative, and productive professionals. Together, we’ve settled cases against companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Lifelock, Equifax, HTC, and Snapchat. We’ve also delved into the privacy implications of new technologies like facial recognition, the Internet of Things, and mobile device tracking. Most importantly, we’ve made a real difference for consumers. There’s no better time to be working on privacy issues, and there’s no better place to do it than the FTC.