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The Case for Agency Authority

December 20, 2018 Congress , FCC , FTC

One of the first lessons I learned as an advocate at Public Knowledge? “Regulation” and “rulemaking authority” are dirty words in too many parts of Capitol Hill. This is perhaps unsurprising to people who have worked on tech and telecom policy longer than I have. Or, for that matter, to people who work on environmental policy or any number of other issues. Nonetheless, this is my case for why I am pro-agency rulemaking authority, and you should be too.

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Time for the FTC to Study Data and Labor Market Competition Issues

September 13, 2018 Antitrust , Charlotte Slaiman , Competition , Competition Policy , FTC , Platform Competition

The Federal Trade Commission is hosting a series of historic public hearings on the future of antitrust law that begin today. Gene Kimmelman, the President of Public Knowledge, is participating in the hearings. To continue these efforts to examine developments in competition throughout the economy, the FTC should launch two important studies to examine: 1) the impact of big data on platform power, and 2) the impact of consolidation on America’s workers. Americans are concerned about competition, but we don’t have the information we need in order to know whether it is stronger agency enforcement or possibly other policy tools that are needed to address these concerns.

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The FTC Must Be Empowered to Protect Our Privacy

June 18, 2018 Cybersecurity , Data Protection , FTC , Legislation , Privacy

Back in 2011, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Facebook deceived consumers by failing to keep its promises to protect user privacy. The two parties agreed to settle the charges through something called an “agreement containing consent order.” The Commission also signed a consent agreement with Google that same year. The FTC issued a final Decision and Consent Order regarding the Facebook allegations in 2012. (A consent order is an FTC enforcement tool that operates like a legal settlement.) Without admitting to the complaint’s counts, the parties involved signed a document that basically says, “we both agree to enter this agreement to resolve the allegations in the complaint, so now you have to do the following things, and if you fail to do any of them, the FTC is going to impose financial penalties.”

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No, the FTC CANNOT Have a Ban on All ISP Blocking

December 12, 2017 FCC , FTC , Net Neutrality , Title II

In my last post, took the four most famous net neutrality violations to see how they would come out under the current rules adopted in 2015 v. how they would come out under the regulatory framework following the Federal Communications Commission vote to repeal net neutrality rules, based on the draft Order. To condense the approximately 5500-word analysis: all four incidents are addressable under the 2015 rules. None of the incidents are addressable under the combined Federal Trade Commission and antitrust regime that remains after the vote to repeal the rules, with the exception of Comcast’s deliberate deception about their blocking peer-2-peer protocols in 2007-08.

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Line-by-line, We Corrected the Record on Broadband Privacy and Net Neutrality

April 11, 2017 Broadband Privacy , FCC , FTC , Net Neutrality , Transparency

Last week, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen co-wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post entitled “No, Republicans didn’t just strip away your Internet privacy rights.” The team at Public Knowledge was troubled by the misinformation laid out in this op-ed. Issues like broadband privacy and net neutrality have serious long-term consequences, so we felt it was important to correct the record.

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