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Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

The Federal Trade Commission held a series of public hearings during the fall 2018 - spring 2019 examining whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection law, enforcement priorities, and policy. The PDF version of this content includes footnotes and sources. All the hearings were webcast live.


Hearings Calendar

Hearing Date Topics Location
Completed Hearings
Click on the date for presentations, videos, transcripts and public comments
#1 Sep. 13, 2018 Review of Competition and Consumer Protection Landscape; Concentration and Competitiveness in U.S. Economy; Privacy Regulation; Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
#2 Sep. 21, 2018 State of U.S. Antitrust Law; Mergers and Monopsony or Buyer Power FTC Constitution Center, Washington, DC
#3 Oct. 15-17, 2018 The Identification and Analysis of Collusive, Exclusionary, and Predatory Conduct by Digital and Technology-Based Platform Businesses; Antitrust Framework for Evaluating Acquisitions of Potential or Nascent Competitors in Digital Marketplaces; Antitrust Evaluation of Labor Markets George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, Arlington, VA
#4 Oct. 23-24, 2018 Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy FTC Constitution Center, Washington, DC
#5 Nov. 1, 2018 Vertical Merger Analysis; the Role of the Consumer Welfare Standard in U.S. Antitrust Law Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
#6 Nov. 6-8, 2018 Privacy, Big Data, and Competition American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC
#7 Nov. 13-14, 2018 Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics Howard University School of Law, Washington, DC
#8 Dec. 6, 2018 Common ownership NYU School of Law, New York, NY
#9 Dec. 11-12, 2018 Data security FTC Constitution Center, Washington, DC
#10 Mar. 20, 2019 Competition and Consumer Protection Issues in U.S. Broadband Markets FTC Constitution Center, Washington, DC
#11 Mar. 25-26, 2019 The FTC’s Role in a Changing World FTC Headquarters, Washington, DC
#12 Apr. 9-10, 2019 The FTC’s Approach to Consumer Privacy FTC Constitution Center, Washington, DC
#13 Apr. 12, 2019 Merger Retrospectives FTC Headquarters, Washington, DC
#14 June 12, 2019 State Consumer Protection and Competition Issues; Optimizing Consumer Protection Remedies; Error-Cost Considerations Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, NE

Influence of the Pitofsky Hearings

The hearings were similar in form and structure to the Global Competition and Innovation Hearings undertaken in 1995 during the Chairmanship of Robert Pitofsky. The Pitofsky Hearings were the first major step in establishing the FTC as a key modern center for competition policy research and development and sought to articulate recommendations that would effectively ensure the competitiveness of U.S. markets without imposing unnecessary costs on private parties or governmental processes.

The Pitofsky hearings re-energized one of the FTC’s most valuable functions – to gather leaders in business, economics, law, and related disciplines to discuss tough, emerging problems and prepare public reports on the facts, issues, governing law, and the need, as appropriate, for change.

Purpose of the hearings and public comments

The hearings and public comment process provided opportunities for FTC staff and leadership to listen to interested persons and outside experts representing a broad and diverse range of viewpoints. Additionally, the hearings stimulated thoughtful internal and external evaluation of the FTC’s near- and long-term law enforcement and policy agenda. The hearings may have identified 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.

The FTC has always been committed to self-examination and critical thinking, to ensure that our enforcement and policy efforts keep pace with changes in the economy.”

FTC Chairman Joe Simons, June 20, 2018

The Commission invited public comment in stages throughout the term of the hearings.

  • The Commission invited comments on the topic covered in each hearing session. The FTC issued a news release before each session to inform the public of the agenda, the date and location, and instructions on submitting comments.
  • The Commission will also invite public comment upon completion of the entire series of hearings.
  • Through August 20, 2018, the Commission accepted public comment on the topics identified in the announcement. Each topic description includes issues of particular interest to the Commission, but comments need not be restricted to these subjects.

Public comments may address one or more of the above topics generally, or may address them with respect to a specific industry, such as the health care, high-tech, or energy industries. Any additional topics for comment will be identified in later notices.

The hearings began in September 2018 and continued through June 2019, and consisted of 14 public sessions. All hearings were webcast, transcribed, and placed on the public record.

Hearing Topics and Comments

In advance of these hearings, the FTC accepted public comments on 11 topics. Additional comments on each topic may be submitted to the FTC during the periods identified in subsequent news releases associated with individual hearings. Please see Public Comments Topics and Process to submit comments for topics open for comment related to specific hearings as well as any final, general comments on the Hearings series.

Press Releases


Contact Us

Derek Moore
Office of Policy Planning

Disability Accommodations

We welcome people with disabilities. The FTC will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. In addition, please allow at least five business days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.