The agency that protects your privacy is in for big changes

The agency that protects your privacy is in for big changes

As of Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission once again has five commissioners, ending a year of neglect that reduced the government agency most directly involved with protecting our privacy is down to just two commissioners and, since Friday, only one.

Those four incoming leaders — confirmed in a unanimous Senate vote last week, led by new chairman Joseph Simons — will have an opportunity and a mandate to improve how the FTC holds companies accountable when their customers’ data goes missing, gets leaked online or is otherwise misused.

Room at the top

The personnel shortage at the FTC starts at the top, where the departures of Obama-administration nominees went almost a year without being offset by nominations of new commissioners by the Trump administration.

By last February, the FTC was down to only two commissioners: acting chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen, a Republican nominee, and Terrell McSweeny, a Democratic nominee. And last month, McSweeny announced her own resignation, leaving just Ohlhausen–whom President Trump nominated in January to serve as a federal judge.

(The Senate confirmed five FTC nominees last week, leaving one to be sworn in to take Ohlhausen’s spot once she is confirmed.)

That is … not exactly the level of attention you might expect for America’s foremost and oldest privacy cop. The FTC was created in 1914 by Congress to protect customers by halting “unfair, deceptive or fraudulent” conduct by companies — from robocalls to data breaches — and to promote competition by enforcing antitrust laws.

It’s downright strange, given all the collective angst over privacy issues we’ve had throughout the last few years. And it’s even stranger in light of the<a href=”https://finance.yahoo.com/news/heres-can-expect-fcc-kills-net-neutrality-153211716.html”> <span style=”font-w

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