Maureen K. Ohlhausen was nominated to the Federal Trade Commission by President Barack Obama and, on March 29, 2012, was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate. She will be participate in a Teleforum on the FTC’s activities in the area of consumer privacy, including recent revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) Rule.
The rise of sophisticated technologies over the last few years has allowed websites and other online entities to gather and distill large amounts of data about particular internet users. Although there are many efficiency gains from this activity, such as the development of new services and better-targeted advertising, people have also become concerned about possible invasions of privacy from monitoring an individual’s internet activity. Recognizing that children’s online privacy is an especially sensitive area, COPPA prohibits an operator of a website or online service that is directed to children, or who has actual knowledge that it is gathering personal information from a child, from collecting such information without providing notice of its data collection and obtaining verifiable parental consent for it. The FTC recently expanded the COPPA Rule’s coverage to include more types of personal information, such as IP addresses, and to expand the definition of an operator to reach entities that do not collect or use children’s information. Commissioner Ohlhausen addressed how she seeks to balance the FTC’s mandate under Section 5 of the FTC Act to protect consumers against unfair or deceptive acts with the legitimate rights of business to gather and use information for commercial purposes and why she dissented from the FTC’s revision to the COPPA Rule.
- Maureen Ohlhausen, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
- Moderator: Dean Reuter, Vice President and Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society