The FTC Enforces Fair Trade and Competition in the United States

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established in 1914 and is responsible for protecting US consumers and encouraging fair competition. Specifically, it battles unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices in the marketplace. And it monitors the market for monopoly situations that could impact consumers negatively.

For privacy and security, the FTC is the primary enforcement agency in the US. It ensures that consumers’ privacy rights are protected and that companies meet the privacy policies that they have committed to with their customers.

The FTC also administers and manages COPPA. COPPA stands for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule of 1998 (USC 15 USC 6501). This US regulation provides for the privacy protection of children under age 13. Specifically, website operators, online services, and mobile applications must obtain parental permission to obtain any personal information on the child. And the operator must state their privacy policy for obtaining parental consent and how they protect children’s information.

What are some of the responsibilities of the FTC?

  1. Monitor and enforce the privacy rights of consumers.
  2. Monitor and enforce the privacy rights of children under 13 (COPPA).
  3. Investigate data breaches for negligence.
  4. Monitor and bring action against companies that engage in unfair trade practices.
  5. Monitor and take action against companies that engage in deceptive trade practices.
  6. Ensure a fair competitive environment and monitor and take action against monopolistic mergers and acquisitions.
  7. Provide alerts for citizens.
  8. Maintain a do not call registry.
  9. Collect and investigate consumer trade and monopoly complaints.

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