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USA: FTC publishes 2023 Privacy and Data Security Update highlighting its enforcement activities

On March 28, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published its 2023 Privacy and Data Security Update (the update), highlighting the FTC's recent privacy and security initiatives.

Artificial intelligence

The update highlights the FTC's initiatives towards protecting consumers against risks brought by artificial intelligence (AI), algorithms, and automated tools. In particular, the update contained a summary of some of the enforcement decisions in which the FTC has alleged that companies violated the FTC Act or other laws in connection with their collection, retention, or use of consumers' personal information to develop or deploy machine learning or similar algorithms. In addition, the FTC highlighted its effort to ensure that unlawfully obtained or retained data cannot be used to develop algorithms or for machine learning.

The update also noted other initiatives by the FTC, such as publishing reports and studies on AI use.

Health data

The update further highlights another of the FTC's priorities, which is protecting the privacy and security of consumers' sensitive health information. Recent health-related orders imposed by the FTC contained strong injunctive relief, requiring businesses to:

  • stop sharing health information with third parties for advertising purposes;
  • obtain affirmative express consent for other disclosures of health data;
  • instruct third parties to delete improperly disclosed data;
  • provide notice to consumers about illegal third-party disclosures, and
  • establish privacy or data security programs without independent assessments.

Children's data

Furthermore, the update contained a summary of enforcement actions taken by the FTC in efforts to protect children's personal information, both through enforcement of the FTC Act and of FTC's Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) Rule.

Other issues

Moreover, the update also noted the FTC's activities concerning other issues, such as geolocation tracking, data security, credit reporting and financial privacy, spam calls and emails, and international enforcement, as well as issuing policy statements.

You can read the update here and the press release here.