Lawmakers Ask FTC How Extra Dollars Would Help Boost Consumer Privacy

A duo of House committee leaders want the Federal Trade Commission to explain how it plans to protect consumer privacy if it received additional funds and manpower.

In a March 20 letter to FTC, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chairman Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., asked the agency how it would use leverage resources if it received an extra $50 million, $75 million or $100 million for consumer protection and privacy.  

“We are writing today to better understand the resources that FTC needs to fulfill its important consumer protection mission and meet the challenges posed by rapid changes in technology,” Pallone and Schakowsky wrote.

Citing a handful of highly publicized data breaches, including the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica incident, the lawmakers expressed concern that many more privacy incidents go unnoticed.

“For every high-profile case, there are many more that do not get attention in the press and therefore may not be prioritized by the FTC,” they wrote. “ Nevertheless, consumers may face significant harm from these less well-known privacy and data security incidents.”

Pallone and Schakowsky now want FTC to answer what resources it would need to “dramatically” beef up its enforcement around privacy and data security and how the agency would use the extra resources that could include technologists and privacy lawyers. 

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