FTC Chairman: Federal Privacy Regulator Would Be ‘Huge Mistake’

FTC Federal Trade Commission

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons said at the Consumer Electronics Association’s CES event on Jan. 7 that creating a new Federal privacy regulator would be a “huge mistake.”

During an interview at the CES event, Simons was asked about the idea of a new Federal regulator for privacy, along the lines of legislation introduced in the House in November 2019 that would create a new consumer data privacy legal framework in the U.S.

“That would be a huge mistake,” Simons responded, while arguing that the FTC already does a good job at regulating privacy issues despite having to do so with a statute that is more than 100 years old.

“Of course, I’m the FTC Chairman, and I would say that, but I really mean it,” Simons said.  He said his agency has been enforcing Federal privacy statutes “pretty aggressively…We have been very creative.” He added that current FTC staff has a lot of experience in privacy enforcement, and is “very high functioning” with “high morale.”

Despite his objection to a new regulator being created, Simons reiterated it was “time for Congress to think about” new Federal data privacy laws.  “We should see if it makes sense” to create a new Federal statute rather than relying on state law, he said.

“As we get further into the digital age, privacy concerns are getting more important by the minute,” Simons said.

John Curran
About John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.

Categories

Recent