Press Release Broadband Privacy

Public Knowledge Joins 23 Public Interest Groups Urging FTC To Protect Consumer Privacy

August 4, 2021 , ,

Today, Public Knowledge joined 23 other public interest, consumer advocacy, and civil rights groups in a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission to protect civil rights and privacy in the digital economy by initiating a new rulemaking. The groups contend that the agency should also create an Office of Civil Rights and commit more resources to enforce against unfair and deceptive practices.

The following is an excerpt from the letter:

“We, the undersigned civil rights, civil liberties, and consumer protection organizations, write to bring your attention to the urgent need for the Federal Trade Commission to protect civil rights and privacy in data-driven commerce. The Internet is an irreplaceable venue for free expression, trade, employment and housing opportunities, banking, education, entertainment, and, of course, civic engagement. As courts have recognized for decades and recently reaffirmed, privacy rights are civil rights and commercial data practices are inextricably intertwined with equal opportunity.

“We ask the FTC to (1) initiate rulemaking and take other appropriate actions to regulate unfair and deceptive commercial data practices such as those discussed below; (2) create an Office of Civil Rights; and (3) commit greater resources to aggressively enforce against unfair and deceptive practices. We urge the FTC to use all tools at its disposal.

“As the FTC looks to chart a new course for oversight of unfair and deceptive practices arising from commercial data practices and big tech, we look forward to working with you to protect civil rights, promote algorithmic fairness, advance equal opportunity, and preserve privacy and free expression.”

The following can be attributed to Sara Collins, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Exploitative data practices, like discriminatory AI systems or dark patterns designed to deceive people, disproportionately harm marginalized communities who already face discrimination on multiple fronts. Fortunately, the FTC has both the authority and the opportunity to support the people who need them most. We urge the FTC to seize this moment to create new rules to protect the privacy of all Americans, but especially of marginalized people.”

You may view the letter for more information.