Public Knowledge Looks Forward to FTC Data Practices Study

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According to reports, the Federal Trade Commission plans to open a study into the technology industry’s data practices. Called a “6(b)” study, this type of study enables the agency to broadly review an industry practice and allows the agency to compel information from witnesses. At the end, the FTC will publish a report of its findings for the public.

Public Knowledge previously urged the FTC to conduct such a study and commends the move to shine a light on the competitive impacts of these data practices.

The following can be attributed to Charlotte Slaiman, Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:

“Data practices in the tech industry are a crucially important area for the FTC's 6(b) authority. This allows the FTC to study the competition impacts of data practices, not just consumer privacy. A study is no substitute for strong enforcement, but a 6(b) study, which allows the agency to compel production of documents, can lead to enforcement and can build a record for new legislation if needed.

“We at Public Knowledge have been advocating for such a study for quite some time, and we’re pleased to see the FTC now taking this option seriously. We hope the agency will focus on the ways that data practices can further entrench incumbent firms and make it more difficult for newer or smaller firms to compete effectively.

“We urge the FTC to open and complete this study efficiently. Americans can’t afford a delay.”

You may view our latest blog post, “Time for the FTC to Study Data and Labor Market Competition Issues,” for more information on what a data practices study should entail.

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