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FTC Launches New Office to Investigate Tech Companies, Seeks Tech Researchers

samedi 18 février 2023, 19:34 , par Slashdot
America's Federal Trade Commission 'has long been dwarfed by Silicon Valley titans like Google and Apple, each staffed with thousands of engineers and technologists,' notes the Washington Post.

'But FTC leaders are hoping combining and expanding their forces into a dedicated tech unit will help them keep up with the rapid advancements across the industry — and to keep it in check.'
The creation of the office will increase the number of technologists on staff by roughly a dozen, up from the current 10 — more than doubling the agency's capacity, officials said. In an exclusive interview announcing the move, FTC Chief Technology Officer Stephanie Nguyen said the unit will work with teams across the agency's competition and consumer protection bureaus to investigate potential misconduct and bring cases against violators. 'Actually being able to have staff internally to approach these matters and help with subject matter expertise is critical,' said Nguyen, who will lead the office.

The announcement arrives at a critical juncture. Federal regulators are dialing up investigations into tech behemoths like Amazon and waging blockbuster legal battles against Microsoft and Facebook parent company Meta.
While Nguyen declined to discuss specific probes or cases, she said the new technology office will work directly on both the agency's investigative and enforcement efforts to 'strengthen and support our attorneys' as they look to tackle alleged abuses across the economy. 'The areas... we will focus on is to work on cases,' she said.... Nguyen said, the new team of technologists could help the agency refine the subpoenas it issues companies to get at the heart of their business models, or to strike a settlement that gets closer to 'the root cause of the harm' taking place.

Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson, who Tuesday announced plans to resign 'soon,' voted in favor of creating the office, joining with the other commissioners in a unanimous vote.

The office's core mission will have three key areas, reports FedScoop: 'strengthening and supporting law enforcement investigations, advising commission staff on policy and research initiatives, and highlighting market trends.'

'For more than a century, the FTC has worked to keep pace with new markets and ever-changing technologies by building internal expertise,' FTC Chair Lina Khan said. 'Our office of technology is a natural next step in ensuring we have the in-house skills needed to fully grasp evolving technologies and market trends as we continue to tackle unlawful business practices and protect Americans.'

Read on for more details about the new office.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
https://news.slashdot.org/story/23/02/18/0616218/ftc-launches-new-office-to-investigate-tech-compani...
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