November 21, 2022
Across the Field

Comments on the FTC's proposed rulemaking on commercial surveillance and data security

Commercial Surveillance ANPR, R111004

Logan Koepke, Harlan Yu, Mariah de Leon, and Natasha Duarte


Stuctural discrimination remains a prevalent cause of harm for many Americans, particularly Black and brown people, women, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and other historically disadvantaged communities. When companies discriminate, whether intentionally or not, consumers can be unfairly hampered in their pursuit of basic services and economic opportunities, such as stable housing, quality jobs, and financial security.

The harms of structural discrimination have been amplified by algorithmic and other data-driven technologies. Civil rights laws that once offered stronger protection against discrimination have not kept pace with changing technology, so new legal and regulatory approaches are needed to protect consumers and to fill gaps.

We believe the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) must use rulemaking to address commercial practices that cause discrimination. It can do so by prescribing a rule that applies its unfairness authority directly to discriminatory practices, which often easily satisfy the three-factor unfairness test. The FTC is well justified in pursuing such a rule, and existing civil rights laws and practices should inform its approach.

Read our full comments here.