WASHINGTON, D.C—Today, Senator Maria Cantwell, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, sent a letter to Chairman Joseph Simons of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting additional information on the agency’s July 2019 settlement with Facebook for privacy violations.
“I am concerned that the settlement lets Facebook off the hook for unspecified violations, and given the many public reports of Facebook’s mishandling of consumer data, it is difficult to fully understand the impact of this provision of the settlement on the data privacy protection of the millions of U.S. consumers that have used and continue to use Facebook,” Senator Cantwell wrote.
In her letter, Senator Cantwell noted that the Facebook settlement “has been criticized by a number of outside observers, and two of your fellow Commissioners, as insufficiently protective of consumers.” Among other reasons, these observers are concerned that this settlement may absolve Facebook from liability for past violations unknown at the time the FTC’s 2019 Order was released. Senator Cantwell also noted that the settlement may “serve as an ineffective deterrent against future policy violations.”
Accordingly, Senator Cantwell asked that the agency provide additional information about how it conducted its investigation of Facebook, including the impact of Facebook’s release from liability, the impact that release has on future Commission actions, and whether the settlement really provides any true independent oversight of Facebook.
You can read Ranking Member Cantwell’s full letter HERE.