TOPEKA – (June 11, 2019) – The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should take several steps to better protect consumer data and privacy, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said today.
In a comment letter filed with the FTC ahead of its June 12 public hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century,” Schmidt and attorneys general from 39 other states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico offered policy and enforcement ideas on the intersections among privacy, big data and competition.
"Managing and protecting data is one of the major public policy challenges of the 21st century," Schmidt said. "It is clear that the law and enforcement practices have a long way to go to catch up with big-data technology and business practices that affect the privacy and liberties of every American."
In the letter, the attorneys general identify concerns about how today’s large-scale data collection efforts create network effects and barriers to entry that can entrench dominant firms. They also examine how several aspects of the developing markets for consumer data merit renewed antitrust attention.
Among the suggestions they make are:
- Strengthen enforcement of existing antitrust laws, including through increased coordination between the FTC and state attorneys general.
- Establish by law a data-broker clearinghouse to enable consumers to learn about the existence and activity of data brokers, access their own information held by the brokers or opt out of that data collection. The attorneys general also suggest consumers should be given more control over their own data by requiring businesses to offer consumers the opportunity to review and delete existing personal information and only allowing businesses to retain that information “for only as long as is reasonably necessary to fulfill the purpose for which the information was collected.”
- Add “duration-of-existence” criteria to federal antitrust filing reporting thresholds, which apply to businesses seeking to acquire a competitor. The attorneys general say this improvement would better ensure competition in these technology platform markets is not snuffed out in its inception.
A copy of the comment letter is available at https://bit.ly/2F16IBm.