According to an interview by the The New York Times, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph J. Simons agrees with FTC critics who say it cannot protect Americans from the prying eyes of Big Tech.
“We have this over 100-year-old statute that is our main authority,” Simons said in his first sit-down interview since becoming chairman 10 months ago. “And clearly legislators who approved that were not thinking about data security and privacy issues.”
In the deregulatory era of the Trump administration, Simons, 60, a Republican lawyer who has jumped between the public and private sectors for more than 30 years, is a rare voice for strengthening the government’s hand.
Simons has urged Congress to expand the FTC’s privacy-enforcement powers and allow it to impose fines more easily, write new rules, and hire more experts. He also says the agency should police how all companies and nonprofits, not just technology companies, collect and handle people’s digital data.
On Friday, Senator Elizabeth Warren (Dem – Massachusetts), who is running for president, announced a sweeping plan to strengthen regulations against big tech companies.
“The FTC has been a disappointment with its lack of enforcement in the past, which for Facebook and Google has amounted to a slap on the wrist,” freshman Senator Josh Hawley (Rep – Missouri) said in an interview. Hawley investigated Google for competition violations when he was a state attorney general.
Full Content: New York Times