- Cecelia Prewett as the Director of the Office of Public Affairs. Ms. Prewett has a background in communications both in the public and private sector, working for the American Association for Justice, AARP, the State of Illinois, and on Capitol Hill as a communications director to several Members of Congress
- Jessica Rich as Deputy Director in the Bureau of Consumer Protection ("BCP"). Ms. Rich was most recently the Acting Associate Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection in the BCP. She was formerly an Assistant Director in the same division and the Division of Financial Practices, legal advisor to the Director of the BCP, and staff attorney in one of the FTC’s consumer fraud divisions.
- Charles Harwood as Deputy Director in the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Mr. Harwood previously was the Director of the FTC’s Northwest Regional Office in Seattle for 20 years. Prior to joining the FTC, Mr. Harwood served as a counsel to the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board.
- Norm Armstrong, Jr. as Deputy Director in the Bureau of Competition. Mr. Armstrong has served as Acting Deputy Direct in the Bureau of Competition, Deputy Assistant Director of the Mergers IV Division, Counsel to the Director, and Liaison to the Department of Defense.
- Joel Winston as Associate Director of the Division of Financial Practices. Mr. Winston has previously held several positions within the FTC including Associate Director of two divisions, Assistant Director of a division, and Assistant Deputy Director of the BCP.
- Maneesha Mithal as Associate Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. Ms. Mithal has previously served as Assistant Director of the same division and Assistant Deputy Director of the BCP.
- Mark Eichorn as Assistant Director of the Division of Privacy and Identity Protection. Mr. Eichorn has served as an Attorney Advisor to the Chairman and in the Division of Advertising Practices.
- Subcommittee members and witnesses discussed many facets of personal information use for marketing purposes, such as how consumer data is collected, the types of data that businesses collect, consumers’ ability to access his or her personal information held by marketers, and consumer education concerning privacy matters.
- Participants discussed elements that could be addressed in future legislation included increasing transparency and choice, consumer education, and providing consumers with a clear statement of their rights–such as the ability to "opt in" and/or "opt out" of having personal data collected. Witnesses, such as Chris Hoofnagle with the University of California, Berkley – School of Law, encouraged consumer education measures, noting that most consumers are unaware of their obligation to object to data collection practices with which they do not agree, and that many consumers assume that personal information collected by companies is secure–which may not always be the case.
- Many of the witnesses advocated privacy protection through a self-regulatory scheme, but Subcommittee members countered that self-regulation is ineffective at stopping "bad actors" and comprehensive legislation is necessary to protect consumers from unscrupulous businesses.
- Finally, almost all of the witnesses stressed that legislation should be tailored to meet the needs of different types of businesses and industries, as well as creating different standards to regulate the offline versus online collection and use of personal information.
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System;
- Commodity Futures Trading Commission;
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
- Federal Trade Commission;
- National Credit Union Administration;
- Office of the Comptroller of the Currency;
- Office of Thrift Supervision; and
- Securities and Exchange Commission
The FTC has announced the agenda for the first of three privacy roundtables the Commission will host to discuss the privacy challenges posed by current technology and business practices that collect and use consumer data.
On December 7, 2009, at the FTC Conference Center in Washington, DC, panelists will discuss:
- Benefits and risks of collecting, using, and retaining consumer data;
- Consumer expectations and disclosures;
- Online behavioral advertising;
- Information brokers; and
- Exploring existing regulatory frameworks
The roundtable will also be available via live webcast.
The FTC has also announced that the second roundtable will be held at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law on January 28, 2010.
General information about the series of roundtables is available here.
President Obama has selected Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez to serve on the Federal Trade Commission. Brill is currently the Senior Deputy Attorney General and Chief of Consumer Protection and Antitrust for the North Carolina Department of Justice, a position she has held since February 2009. Prior to working with the North Carolina DOJ, Brill was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Vermont. Ramirez is a currently a Partner with the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges, LLP in Los Angeles and focuses her practice on issues including copyright and trademark infringement, antitrust, and unfair competition. Ramirez has represented companies including Mattel, American Broadcasting Companies, and The Walt Disney Company.
- The FTC should pursue enforcement actions against all businesses involved in unfair privacy practices, not just spyware companies.
- The FTC should use its subpoena power to acquire information about company privacy practices.
- The Commission should encourage Congress to pass general consumer privacy legislation that would allow the FTC to draft its own set of consumer privacy rules to clarify basic privacy expectations and strengthen privacy protection.
- The FTC should establish benchmarks and metrics for evaluating company privacy policies, and the Commission should more actively promote the development of privacy-enhancing technology.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants ("AICPA") challenged application of the Federal Trade Commission’s Red Flags Rule to accountants. In its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the AICPA alleges:
- that the FTC is exceeding its congressionally granted powers under the 2003 law by interpreting its Red Flags Rule to apply to accountants;
- that the FTC has acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and contrary to law by failing to articulate a rational connection between the profession of public accounting and identity theft;
- that the FTC failed to explain how the manner in which public accountants bill their clients in the normal course of business constitutes an extension of credit; and
- that the FTC failed to identify any legally supportable basis for applying the rule to accountants.
The AICPA’s challenge follows the recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the Red Flags Rule is not applicable to lawyers.
Coverage of the lawsuit is available here.