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FTC debate: Really fight today’s violators or find more crime to be overwhelmed by

FTC debate: Really fight today’s violators or find more crime to be overwhelmed by

Reflecting the reality of consumer data harvesting, if not the mood of said consumers, the Federal Trade Commission has said it will think about creating three investigatory units to tackle privacy violations, including those involving biometrics.

One unit would go after those who could potentially be violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, but also several other targets.

This unit would perform so-called ‘de novo,’ or from the beginning enforcements. Beyond COPPA (which does not address a new form of privacy crime), its portfolio would include abuses related to IoT, biometrics, artificial intelligence, stalking apps and revenge porn.

It also would bring new sources to bear on the collection, use and disclosure of sensitive data “including health data that falls outside of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” Similarly, the unit would fight abuses related to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley and Fair Credit Reporting financial acts.

A second group, focused on order enforcement, which would ride herd on the many FTC settlements and judgments involving privacy and data security violations involving the big fish: Facebook, Microsoft, Uber, Google, Twitter and others. Employees of this unit would make sure violators are obeying government directives over time.

The third recommended group would bolster the commission’s outreach and industry research activity. Employees would conduct workshops using research conducted by new employees. Presumably, the workshops would be for vendors, legislators and special interest groups.

The future for these expansions does not look promising.

An article in Compliance Week, reports that Commissioner Rohit Chopra, a Democrat, would rather see the FTC enforce existing laws and going after issues it has the authority to address today.

It is interesting to note that a recent sponsored report by Juniper Research indicated that U.S. consumers are largely clueless about how their personal information is used by industry or the government.

Large segments of consumers do not believe that online businesses monitor their purchases. Half do not believe that social media platforms are watching their posts.

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