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Amanda R. Lawrence extensively quoted in Agenda article, “Lawmakers float new regulator for social media companies”


Amanda R. Lawrence

The Agenda article, “Lawmakers float new regulator for social media companies,” explores a possible increase in regulation for companies operating in the digital space, which was, in part, triggered by the testimony of Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, before the Senate Judiciary Committee, regarding how Twitter’s improper handling of its data, has put tens of millions of users’ information at risk.

Lawrence said that Zatko’s testimony shows that Congress is “taking seriously his allegations,” and may be “looking at the current enforcement regime for other social media companies and whether or not [they’re] effective given the proliferation of data and social media in our country.” Although some senators suggested an overhaul of the FTC is warranted, Lawrence noted that the agency has made social media regulation a “top priority” and that appointment of recently sworn-in FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya, who has an extensive background in privacy and technology, could signal “even more focus by the FTC in this area.”  Lawrence cautioned that the FTC is “limited by the tools in their arsenal” to tamp down on these companies, but the agency has made requests to Congress to bolster its enforcement efforts. If Congress fulfills these requests, Lawrence said they could result in new federal privacy and security laws enforceable by the FTC, an expansion of the agency’s civil penalty and rulemaking authority, and an increased budget to fund additional resources. “Given the amount of data that these companies collect and maintain and the way that social media essentially touches everyone’s lives, we may see more regulation and enforcement in the future.”