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Without Public Comment, FTC Narrows Section 5 Authority

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a "Statement of Principles Regarding Enforcement of FTC Act as a Competition Statute." The Principles appear to narrow the ability of the Commission to pursue unfair business practices and were announced without any formal opportunity for public comment. Chairwoman Ramirez said that the Statement makes "time-honored principles explicit; it does not signal any change of course in our enforcement practices and priorities." Commissioner Olhausen dissented and noted the lack of opportunity for public comment. EPIC and others have urged the FTC to use Section 5 authority to address growing concerns about industry consolidation and privacy protection. EPIC has also noted the failure of the FTC to incorporate public comments in its proceedings, as required by law.

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