Daniel Castro, VP of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation - a leading tech policy think tank - recently testified that while the US Federal Trade Commission has successfully provided valuable oversight and consumer protection for many years, there is an opportunity for Congress to modernize the agency so that it better protects consumers from harm, while minimizing regulatory costs and better enabling innovation in the American economy.
In a testimony before the US House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Castro stated: “The FTC plays a critical role in protecting consumers and ensuring competition in many areas of the U.S. economy. But Congress has an opportunity to modernize an institution that is more than 100 years old so that it can better pursue its mission of protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive business practices without imposing unnecessary restrictions on the private sector or limiting innovation in today’s digital economy.”
Castro added: “The FTC’s actions send important signals to the private sector about how it should allocate its resources. In theory, these signals should be encouraging businesses to take actions that protect consumers, while not discouraging them from taking risks that might produce innovation that will benefit consumers. But if the FTC brings enforcement actions against a company that makes an insignificant mistake where there was no evidence of actual consumer harm, it is signaling that companies should direct limited resources away from innovative activities toward corporate lawyers instead.
“The FTC, through the leadership and dedication of its commissioners and staff, has achieved some important successes in recent years,” Castro concluded. “But Congress should seize this opportunity to ensure that success continues in the 21st century. Lawmakers should enable the FTC to provide the necessary oversight to protect consumers while at the same time encouraging innovation in the digital economy.”
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