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NetChoice Raises Concerns With FTC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Privacy and Data Security

Today, NetChoice raised concerns with the FTC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding privacy and data security. While NetChoice enthusiastically supports a comprehensive national standard for both privacy and data security, such actions must come from the legislative branch, which is accountable to the public and constitutionally authorized to balance interests for the American people. 

Notably, the two Republican commissioners dissented against the proposal. This latest power grab by FTC Chair Lina Khan represents an unauthorized and ill-advised rulemaking process that ignores the will of the people and undermines the ongoing efforts of Congress to address this issue in a constitutional manner.

“Given FTC Chair Lina Khan’s record of lip service to public comment and lack of transparency, we can’t allow this to be the same opaque and unchecked process we’ve seen recently at the FTC on such an important issue as Americans’ privacy,” said Jennifer Huddleston, NetChoice Policy Counsel. “It’s unclear given the notice that the FTC even understands what it wants to accomplish as it conflates the broad need to keep our computers secure with the ability for businesses to provide advertisements that pay for the free services we all enjoy. Or worse, it indicates that Chair Khan has already decided her preferred outcome in a war on internet-based advertisements that is out of touch with the average American.”

“The result would mean less content, more ads, and more paywalls for all Americans, especially those in low and middle-income households, and would impact far more than just the technology industry. While it’s important to protect privacy for Americans, it is the role of Congress to decide the correct approach, not unelected bureaucrats.” continued Huddleston.

Khan and other FTC commissioners have previously called on Congress to advance privacy legislation, but with this action, the Chair has clearly forgotten her role as an enforcer and instead wants to be a lawmaker. These actions are undertaken without an appropriate delegation of authority from Congress, and as noted by Commissioner Christine Wilson, they have the potential to derail the positive momentum of federal data privacy legislation currently moving through Congress.