FTC Extends Deadline To Weigh In On Commercial Surveillance

The Federal Trade Commission Friday extended by one month the deadline to submit comments regarding potential regulations that could curb online ad targeting.

Comments are now due by November 21.

The move came after business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, Privacy for America, Association of National Advertisers, American Association of Advertising Agencies, and NTCA--The Rural Broadband Association sought additional time to weigh in with the agency. The organizations asked for a 60-day extension, which would have made the due date December 20.

The FTC said Friday it was “giving the public more time to respond to the questions and issues” that it raised in the “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” regarding so-called commercial surveillance. That advance notice, issued in August, is the first step in a years-long regulatory process that could result in new rules regarding the collection and use of online data.



Commercial surveillance is the business of collecting, analyzing, and profiting from information about people,” the FTC stated Friday, when it announced the deadline extension. “Mass surveillance has heightened the risks and stakes of data breaches, deception, manipulation, discrimination, and other abuses.”

The agency's advance notice posed more than 90 specific questions regarding privacy, including whether new privacy rules should limit data collection and targeted advertising.

The FTC also suggested in the advance notice that the current approach to online privacy -- which involves notifying consumers about data collection and seeking their consent on an opt-out or opt-in basis -- may be inadequate.

“The permissions that consumers give may not always be meaningful or informed,” the FTC states in the document, adding that many people don't have the time to review lengthy privacy policies and their periodic updates.

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