In testimony before Congress today, the Federal Trade Commission outlined its work over the past 40 years to protect consumers’ privacy at a hearing convened to examine privacy rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission.
Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen testified on behalf of the Commission. The testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law provided background on FTC law enforcement efforts, policy work and consumer and business education programs related to protecting consumers’ privacy.
The testimony highlighted the FTC’s extensive history of privacy-related work. The testimony noted that the agency has brought more than 500 privacy-related enforcement cases in its history against online and offline companies of varying sizes, including companies across the internet ecosystem. In addition, the testimony highlighted a number of recent cases of note.
The testimony also provided information on the FTC’s policy work in the privacy area, going back to its first internet privacy workshop in 1996. The testimony noted that recent policy work has been based on principles featured in the FTC’s 2012 privacy report, and also highlighted workshops and reports related to the Internet of Things, big data, and other issues, including cross-device tracking.
The testimony also described the FTC’s extensive consumer and business education efforts related to privacy, including the FTC’s Start With Security campaign for businesses, and the newly-updated IdentityTheft.gov.
The testimony also addressed the FTC’s history of partnership with the FCC on various consumer protection issues, including on privacy and data security issues. The testimony called attention to the agencies’ ongoing partnership on Do Not Call and robocall issues, previous work on pretexting, and collaboration on law enforcement cases related to unauthorized third-party billing by mobile phone carriers, as well as separate, parallel studies on mobile security updates.
The Commission vote approving the testimony and its inclusion in the formal record was 3-0.
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