FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez talks data brokers and consumer protection with Ars at CES. Video by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)
On Tuesday afternoon, Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez offered sobering perspective to CES’ unbridled enthusiasm for consumer products that gather data on you around the clock. Just the evening before, CES keynote speaker and Samsung Consumer Products CEO Boo-Keun Yoon had breathlessly described the future in the Internet of Things (IoT). But, while hundreds of companies are eager to sell consumers a plethora of connected devices, the FTC has been working to remind those companies that they still have real responsibilities to consumers.
Ramirez sat down with Ars after introducing a panel of authorities on data collection and privacy to talk about how her agency wants to protect consumers from tech companies as they grow larger and make more inroads into day-to-day life.
The previous year was a busy one for Ramirez and her Commission. The FTC settled lawsuits against Google and Apple for allowing in-app purchases without the phone owner’s permission, and it recently reached a settlement with Snapchat for falsely advertising high levels of privacy to its users. “We’ve been actively policing the marketplace through our enforcement branches,” Ramirez said, adding that she hopes Congress will codify some responsibility on the part of companies collecting consumer data in the coming year, especially considering the widely publicized breaches that happened at big-box retailers resulting in the loss of millions of credit card numbers to hackers.
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