Bulletins

FTC official warns of seizing algorithms 'juiced by ill-gotten data'

Erie Meyer, the agency's chief technologist, also floated corporate restructuring and bans on companies that "sacrifice security" illegally.

FTC building exterior

The FTC's leadership floated a tougher line on data abuses.

Photo: bpperry/Getty Images

The chief technologist of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission told a conference on Tuesday that the agency envisions forcing companies that engage in illegal data uses to "not just disgorge data and money," but also "algorithms that were juiced by ill-gotten data."


Chief technologist Erie Meyer also floated the possibility of corporate restructuring and stronger enforcement against "companies that sacrifice security in service of speed," making them "subject to bans just like abusive debt collectors."

"We're going to make sure that data abusers face consequences for their wrongdoing," she said. She slammed fixes that make "a disclosure longer or a one-time fine bigger" and suggested the FTC needed to take on entire business models.

Meyer's comments came as the commission's new chair, Lina Khan, has already begun to clear the way for the commission to take more aggressive enforcement actions on tech companies.

Meyer and Democratic commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter also opened the FTC's PrivacyCon on Tuesday with warnings that the agency will look at privacy and other data abuses not just through the lens of consumer protection but also as an issue of competition, economic opportunity and civil rights.

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