Will the FTC take any measures against company monitoring?

A picture of an article titled that American companies are establishing their own surveillance status.  Will the FTC stop it?

Photo: Jenny Kane (Associated Press)

Americans are used to hearing what a great country they live in—how lucky they are to be born in or immigrate to the United States. “American exceptionalism”-the term is interesting, coined by Joseph Stalin-is an idea that is still rooted in the country’s collective identity as a whole. But even the iconic optimism that Americans showed during the postwar boom and the years following the Great Inflation fits a country full of opportunity and wealth—at least, For its white citizens——The idea that the United States is “special” today is, in a good sense, better interpreted as a Poliana mentality, rather than an honest reflection of her status on the world stage.Among dozens of so-called “developed” countries, the United States has dubious honors lead In indicators such as gun-related homicides, CEO salaries, military spending, medical expenses, obesity rates, child poverty rates, and per capita imprisonment rates—not to mention the total number of citizens imprisoned—just to name a few.

Thanks in large part to the lobbying rules aptly described as “legal bribery” and its tendency to pick empty clothes to fill seats in Congress, the United States has recently performed well on another indicator: near-continuous surveillance of itself Of citizens can solve almost any problem with cash. In addition to the most notable examples set by Europe, a series of high- and middle-income countries including Portugal, Canada, Australia, and Brazil have passed national laws designed to protect their people from the rampant support of today The data abused a not-so-trivial part of the U.S. economy.Residents of some countries already enjoy the protection provided by Europe GDPR They even have their own national privacy laws and have the right to take unilateral actions against corporate criminals—coincidentally, these companies always seem to be based in the United States.

On the other hand, the Federal Trade Commission, the US agency responsible for protecting American privacy at least in the abstract, also happens to be the agency most often referred to as “toothless.”There are many reasons why it is so slandered: it has a privacy enforcement officer No bigger Better than the MLB baseball team; equivalent to the annual budget of the Midwest State Capitol; and its financial capabilities”punish“(In order to get exaggerated) billion-dollar companies, even the most blatant deception needs to be RecidivismIn other words, the only evidence that people really need to prove their shortcomings is a basic understanding of the status quo: publicly admit that companies doing this are rampant and collect people’s personal data without consent, because in the end, this is the best way to attract people. Other companies, government agencies, and individuals that may be interested in buying.

Although in the past few years, people have repeatedly called for the establishment of a new bureaucracy to protect consumers, some well-known legal experts believe that the Federal Trade Commission has at least on paper the ability to discourage privacy invaders-whether Congress It should be decided to adequately fund and manage institutions.Three university professors of information privacy law debate In a printed matter two years ago, it wrote: “In theory, the FTC has broad enough jurisdiction and responsibilities to deal with various issues commonly referred to as’privacy’, such as algorithm manipulation and accountability.” The San Francisco-based photo storage company took action, which deceived its users by using their photos as fuel for facial recognition algorithms (read: lying). The company was not only ordered to delete its ill-gotten wealth, but also ordered to destroy the algorithms built on it.

Not everyone agrees with the views of these respected experts.Less than a week later, the former Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Service wrote For The New York Times: “[I]In fact, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission lacks both legal powers and the resources to give full play to its effectiveness in this area. “Democratic and Republican leaders have completely ignored attempts to actually equip the agency through comprehensive privacy legislation, especially in The infamous Equifax leak in 2017,some of them 145 million people Was compromised, held a series of public hearings, attacked a group of weak executives on TV, and then did anything useful.

On Thursday, a coalition of more than 50 civil and pro-privacy organizations published an open letter Ask the FTC to take action against what they call “industry-wide data abuse”, using Amazon as their main example. They wrote that for Amazon, the largest online retailer on the planet, it is “impossible” to “obtain meaningful consent from those who collect data on a large scale” because people cannot know or judge the far-reaching future. The hazards of the series”. “In addition, Amazon’s power forces users who do not have bargaining power to accept cumbersome and offensive terms of use, such as granting Amazon the right to use data obtained from their private lives for biometric data and artificial intelligence training.”

In other actions, these groups asked the FTC to completely ban facial recognition technology-such as the one sold by a little-known company called Clearview AI, which boasted of removing dozens of them from social media without their consent. Images of 100 million people give low-level street police the ability to search their database From personal mobile device Without the knowledge of their superiors. Since Clearview’s privacy violations are not actually Clearview’s customers, it seems doubtful whether the FTC has the right to take any action against this most blatant piracy.

In December, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra launched a speech Before the virtual crowd on the privacy forums held online due to covid-19, “I want to say first that I believe the current state of facial recognition is flawed and dangerous,” adding: “I support the adoption of many cities Action The United States has enacted a complete ban and suspension.” Chopra will later ask: “Will we allow powerful technology companies to experiment with us without considering invasion of privacy and harmful discrimination?”

The answer is yes, “Maybe.”

Gizmodo contacted the FTC on Thursday, but the FTC declined to say whether it supports the ban on facial recognition or whether it will consider banning facial recognition.When asked if it believes it even has the right to do so, a spokesperson replied, “We have no comment.” Therefore, while the authorities of other countries are busy taking active measures to protect their data from vampires , But Americans now want to know if they will bear their own particularities again, because A weak government is too crappy and corrupt to protect them.

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