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FTC Extends Comment Deadline on Commercial Surveillance and Data Security ANPR

ANPRThe month-long extension allows stakeholders more time to comment on potential new data security rules. The FTC has received more than 2,000 comments so far.

10/18/2022 10:30 A.M.

3 minute read

The Federal Trade Commission is allowing more time for public and stakeholder comments as it considers an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on commercial surveillance and data security practices.

In August, the FTC launched the ANPR to seek public comment on if new rules are needed to address potential harms stemming from commercial surveillance and lax data security practices, according to a news release from the FTC.

The deadline for comment is now Nov. 21, 2022, extended from Oct. 21, 2022.

The FTC defines commercial surveillance as “the business of collecting, analyzing, and profiting from information about people. Mass surveillance has heightened the risks and stakes of data breaches, deception, manipulation, discrimination, and other abuses.”

The term data security in this ANPR “refers to breach risk mitigation, data management and retention, data minimization, and breach notification and disclosure practices.

The FTC says it is pursuing the ANPR because its enforcement and policy work on data privacy has raised important questions about the prevalence of harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security practices, according to the Federal Register notice on the ANPR.

“This experience suggests that enforcement alone without rulemaking may be insufficient to protect consumers from significant harms,” the ANPR states.

The FTC enforces several laws related to commercial surveillance practices, including the FTC Act, but the commission says that laws limit the remedies that the commission may impose in enforcement actions on companies for violations—including preventing the commission from seeking civil penalties for first-time violations.

Among the topics for comment, the FTC seeks feedback on whether it should implement new trade regulation rules or other regulatory alternatives concerning companies’ commercial surveillance of data.

It also seeks input on the balance of costs and countervailing benefits of such practices for consumers and competition, as well as the costs and benefits of any given potential trade regulation rule, and proposals for protecting consumers from harmful and prevalent commercial surveillance and lax data security practices.

The FTC received more than 2,000 comments since it opened the request in August, including one set from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other organizations seeking a delay in the comment deadline.

“The ANPR seeks information, research, and experiential data about almost all aspects of the modern data-driven economy, and it does so through a procedure the FTC has rarely used for such an expansive and vaguely defined purpose,” according to the chamber’s comments. “More time is required for all stakeholders, including the undersigned organizations, to provide the detailed comments and information that the FTC is requesting, including comments on the various economic impacts of a potential regulation, the multiple alternatives available to the FTC, and the significant (and potentially negative) downstream impacts of sweeping regulations on commercial data practices for consumers, businesses, and the American economy.”

To file a comment, write “Commercial Surveillance ANPR, R111004” on your comment and file it online at https://www.regulations.gov. If you prefer to file your comment on paper, mail your comment to the following address: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, D.C., 20580. Contact ACA’s advocacy team at [email protected] if you’d like to share any comments or feedback.

Meanwhile, the Safeguards Rule from the FTC under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act is taking effect Dec. 9, 2022. ACA has comprehensive details and education available for members on its Safeguards Rule Resource Center. Check out the site for our ACA How: Safeguards Rule Implementation Series.

If you have executive leadership updates or other member news to share with ACA, contact our communications department at [email protected]. View our publications page for more information and our news submission guidelines here.

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