FTC nominees push for Congress-led data privacy legislation


A trio of nominees to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stressed the importance of Congress passing a federal privacy bill.

Their call comes even as the FTC, the agency they are nominated to lead, is considering stronger action on privacy concerns.

The nominees, during their confirmation hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee, highlighted that it’s Congress’s responsibility to address growing concerns about privacy, data brokers, and artificial intelligence.

Andrew Ferguson, one of the Republican nominees and the current solicitor general for Virginia, commented on the complexity of the privacy issue. He pointed out that while states like Virginia have their own privacy laws, it’s essential for Congress to address the current disparity of state efforts.

The other Republican nominee, Melissa Holyoak, emphasized that the FTC is poised to enforce privacy regulations but emphasized Congress’s pivotal role.

In the ongoing absence of a federal privacy law, the FTC has taken the initiative to draft rules governing the collection of consumer data.

Democratic FTC commissioner, Rebecca Slaughter, who’s up for renomination, expressed concerns about the FTC’s limited regulatory capacity. She stressed that FTC action would be overshadowed by more robust Congressional legislation.

Andrew Ferguson said, “This issue is new, it’s complicated, and it’s going to affect people in a way that the commission simply can’t grapple with the way Congress can.”

“The FTC is a good candidate, but I think the most important thing here is for Congress to take the lead,” Ferguson said.

“You can look at these issues much more broadly,” Slaughter said, addressing lawmakers.

“Some of those may be triggered by some deployments or uses of AI, and we should be thoughtful about applying them,” Slaughter mentioned.

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