House Democrats Propose $1 Billion For FTC To Create New Privacy Division

House Democrats are floating a proposal to allocate $1 billion to the Federal Trade Commission, to enable the agency to beef up its privacy enforcement.

The proposal, put forward by the staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, specifically calls for the FTC to use the funds to create a new bureau “for the FTC’s work related to unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to privacy, data security, identity theft, data abuses, and related matters.”

The full committee is scheduled to address the recommendation on Monday, during a markup session.

The FTC's current budget is around $350 million. The agency has previously requested more funds in order to hire additional staff devoted to privacy.

Two years ago, former FTC chair Joe Simons asked Congress for funding to hire more people to investigate and prosecute privacy cases. He said at the time that the agency employs 40 full-time staff devoted to privacy and data security.

By comparison, the Information Commissioners' office has around 500 employees, Simons told lawmakers.

Simons said the FTC could hire around 160 more people with an extra $50 million, 260 additional people with $75 million and 360 new employees with $100 million. He added that additional funding would allow the FTC to create new units, including one devoted to policy.

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