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29 bipartisan state Attorneys General respond to FTC's consumer protection hearing announcement

Federal Issues State Issues State Attorney General FTC Consumer Protection

Federal Issues

On August 20, a bipartisan coalition of 29 state Attorneys General, led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, submitted a comment letter to the FTC regarding the agency’s June announcement of public hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” The letter requests that the state Attorneys General be included in the discussions regarding consumer protection during the agency’s hearing process, which intends to address “whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy.” The letter emphasizes the states’ “long history of protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices” under each state’s consumer protection authority and offers specific comment on three areas of the FTC request: (i) privacy and big data; (ii) communication and media technology; and (iii) algorithmic decision tools and other artificial intelligence. Specifically, the Attorneys General note consumers’ concerns over personal information and data security, stating the “[i]ndustry must place privacy and security front and center in its research and development of products and services.” The letter concludes with a request that the agency take into account the “important role” the Attorneys General have in consumer protection and include their offices in the hearing process.

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