FTC Testifies On Privacy, Competition At Senate Commerce Hearing

BY Heather Greenfield
May 10, 2012

Privacy as a competition issue was a focus at the Senate Commerce Committee’s hearing on online privacy Thursday.

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said having privacy rules could help provide a level playing field between companies that have privacy policies and those who don’t.

Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen said, however, said something to be cautious of is enacting privacy rules in a way that favors incumbent companies, which already have lots of data, compared to companies just starting up.

She told senators, “new restrictions may also have an effect on competition by favoring entrenched entities that already have consumer information over new entrants who need to obtain such information, or encouraging industry consolidation for purposes of sharing data.  As a competition agency, the FTC should be sensitive to these concerns as well.

Ohlhausen said she wanted to see what voluntary privacy measures companies are taking ahead of new regulations.

In a response to a question, Chairman Leibowitz also told senators that he is seeing  more companies using their privacy policies as a means of attracting users and competing against similar online services.

CCIA President & CEO Ed Black has said that privacy used as a competition point is a good thing because it allows Internet users choice when it comes to the often competing goals of privacy versus the abundance of free content and services.

Related Articles

CCIA Response To States’ and FTC Action Regarding Facebook

Dec 9, 2020

The following can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President Matt Schruers: “CCIA strongly supports antitrust enforcement when consumers are harmed. However, the remedy needs to be tailored to the evidence, and not based on an artificially narrow definition of the market. Unwinding Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014…

CCIA, 20 Companies, Groups Ask FTC To Pursue Rehearing Of Qualcomm Antitrust Case

Aug 24, 2020

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association joined 20 other companies and associations in a letter encouraging the Federal Trade Commissioners to seek en banc rehearing of its case against Qualcomm. The FTC rightly asserted in its case that Qualcomm’s licensing practices were anticompetitive, hurt rivals and enhanced their monopoly. The trial court judge…

CCIA Expresses Concern Over New Senate Bill To Weaken Encryption

Jun 24, 2020

Washington — A bill to give law enforcement more access to personal data with fewer legal protections for citizens has been introduced in the Senate Tuesday. Senators Lindsey Graham, R-SC, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., have announced the  “Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act.” The bill would compel device manufacturers and providers…