Tag: FTC

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post


Anyone else getting Social Security scammer robocalls from the 830 area code? They rotate the rest of the numbers, all mimicked and not real, but actually leave a message. It is a slightly cleverer variation on the earlier, more threatening scams, and close to one reported this past tax season. Newsweek reported on two earlier […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Washington’s War on Big Tech: Must There Be a Google?


If Washington’s War on Google has begun, when will it end? The Justice Department is apparently gearing up an investigation of the internet giant. And for what reason exactly? That’s unclear. But one 2012 Federal Trade Commission analysis might give us a hint. It described Google as “engaging in tactics that resulted in harm to many vertical competitors, and likely helped to entrench Google’s monopoly power over search and search advertising.”

Overseas, the European Commission has thrice fined Google for business practices deemed uncompetitive. The most recent came last March when regulators hit the company with a nearly $2 billion fine for past “abusive practices.” The EC said Google “abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The FTC Unfriends Facebook


While Facebook thrives in the marketplace, the company is under siege by angry critics both inside and outside of government over privacy issues. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that Facebook violated its 2011 privacy consent decree and may impose a fine on the company of up to $5 billion. The FTC alleges that Facebook did not do enough to protect user data from being improperly exploited by Cambridge Analytica, which used that data to supply strategy advice to the Trump campaign.

In one sense, the fine is the least of Facebook’s worries; other initiatives are in development to alter the way the company does business. With her usual lack of caution, Senator Elizabeth Warren has called for the breakup of Facebook, Amazon, and Google on the ground that their allegedly monopolistic practices tend to squash smaller upstarts, leading to what she laments as a rapid decline in competition and innovation across an industry that has been defined by fierce competition and high levels of innovation. Warren doubled down on her position by recently unveiling a new bill imposing criminal liability—including jail time—on corporate executives for simple negligence in carrying out their manifold duties.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. FTC to FDA: Do Your Job So We Can Do Ours


shutterstock_125410652Regulation is a tricky matter, filled with tension. Too little and you end up with fraud and harm; too much and you stifle innovation. Too little input from industry and you get decisions ignorant of conditions on the ground; too much and you have regulatory capture. When it comes to homeopathy, the Food and Drug Administration seems to have managed to make all of these errors at once — including ones that should be mutually exclusive.

A few months back, the FDA sought public comment on its regulatory regime for homeopathy. Both homeopaths and science-based activists flooded them with material. The most surprising comment, however, came from another organ of the government: a pointed and bitter memorandum from the Federal Trade Commission, essentially telling its fellow regulators to stop making the FTC’s job impossible by abdicating the FDA’s duty to evaluate homeopathic products’ efficacy and safety in the same way they do normal drugs.