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A.G. Underwood files comments with FTC on crucial role of states in consumer protection

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood – part of a bipartisan coalition of 29 Attorneys General – filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) highlighting the significant role state Attorneys General play in consumer protection, and asking the FTC to include states in the discussion as the agency holds public hearings on "Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century".

In June, the FTC announced that the agency will hold a series of public hearings, "on whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy." The FTC asked interested parties to submit comments by August 20, 2018.

"State Attorneys General are a critical line of defense, protecting consumers against the kinds of unfair and deceptive practices that are far too prevalent," said Attorney General Underwood. "At a time when consumers' privacy, data, and security are often treated as commodities rather than sensitive information, this role is more vital than ever. My office will continue to do what it takes to protect New York consumers."

In the filed comments, the Attorneys General highlight the work states do to protect Americans from unfair and deceptive practices, and the key role Attorneys General have in identifying emerging marketplace trends.

"The State Attorneys General play a distinct and important role in consumer protection, given our broad authority to act in the public interest combined with our responsibility to enforce state laws. We have a long history of protecting consumers from unfair and deceptive practices. The State Attorneys General frequently use our consumer protection authority—derived from states' traditional police powers—to investigate violations of law, enjoin harmful conduct, redress consumer harm through injunctive relief and restitution, and deter further violations through civil penalties," the Attorneys General write.

The Attorneys General also go on to write, "In our experiences, consumer privacy and data security is an afterthought in product and service development. Industry often does not adequately invest in privacy and security. Consumer data has inherent value and the free market alone does not adequately protect sensitive data. Consumers have voiced concerns to us about what personal information industry collects, how industry informs consumers about data collection, and how industry uses and shares consumers' data. Industry must place privacy and security front and center in its research and development of products and services."

The comments were led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and filed by the Attorneys General of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.