How will the FTC Deal with the Internet with a New Chief?


FTC Chair Jon Liebowitz is resigning after 4 years during which he “pushed for online privacy protections and sought to restrain unfair competition,” but as the New York Times reported he “stumbled in an attempt to rein in the Internet search practices of Google”:

Competitors, advertisers and some consumer advocates had complained that Google manipulated the results of its Internet searches to give top priority to results that featured companies in which it held an interest, while punishing those that were a competitive threat.

The Washington Post speculates that the new Chair could be “other Democrats on the commission, Julie Brill and Edith Ramirez,” but Chair’s departure:

…will create at least a temporary partisan split, with two Democrats, two Republicans and one seat empty until President Obama can gain confirmation for a nominee. Such 2-2 divides on the five-member commission are not uncommon during transitions, but they can make it difficult to chart a forceful path for the FTC.

No one knows about the future of the FTC, but given its role to manage privacy on the Internet in the US it will be interesting to see who is selected, and also to watch the confirmation process to see what the Senate is concerned about.

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