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Series: FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

· November 28, 2018

This series serves as a recap for each hearing of the FTC’s Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century series. Below is a list of our posts in the series with a link to the complete article. The FTC has also made available the audio of all of the hearings here.

The fourteenth and final hearing in the FTC’s series on Competition and Consumer Protection. This hearing focused on consumer protection, antitrust enforcement, and the limits of antitrust.

The FTC held its 13th Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection on April 12, 2019. This hearing focused solely on merger retrospectives.

  • FTC Hearings #12: The FTC’s Approach to Consumer Privacy Part 1 & Part 2 – 04/9-10/2019

The FTC held its twelfth Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection on April 9 and 10, 2019.  The overall theme of this two-day hearing centered on the FTC’s approach to consumer privacy.

The FTC held its eleventh Hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection on March 25 and 26, 2019. The overall theme of the two-day hearing centered on the FTC’s role in a changing world. Panels addressed a range of issues, such as increasing inter-agency cooperation and international engagement, and promoting sound policies for the future.

The tenth FTC hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century took place on Wednesday. The hearing featured panels addressing a range of issues, such as speed advertising claims, the FTC’s Section 5 authority, and evolving broadband markets and technological developments. Additionally, net neutrality – which became a major topic of conversation in 2017 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reclassified broadband Internet access service (BIAS) and effectively handed over oversight of this critically important sector to the FTC – featured prominently.

The ninth FTC hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century took place last week at the Constitution Center and focused on data security. The two day hearing addressed a range of topics in data security with presentations and panels on data breaches, incentives to invest in data security, consumer demand for data security, the U.S. approach to consumer data security, and FTC data security enforcement.

The eighth FTC hearing on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century took place at New York University School of Law with a robust discussion on corporate governance, institutional investors, and common ownership. The day’s panels examined concerns that acquisitions and holdings of non-controlling ownership interests in competing companies, for example by institutional investors, may have anticompetitive effects.

The seventh of the FTC’s hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century. In this hearing, the spotlight was on algorithms, artificial intelligence (“AI”), and predictive analytics. The overarching themes of this two-day hearing were to understand the fundamental aspects of AI and algorithms, how AI could impact consumer protection, and to discuss antitrust and regulatory issues for AI.

The sixth in the FTC’s set of hearings focusing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” This hearing focused on the intersection between big data, privacy, and competition and the array of concerns rising from it. The three-day hearing had three primary themes: the economics of big data, online advertising, and differing perspectives on data policy. Slides presented during the hearing can be found here.

The fifth in the FTC’s set of hearings focusing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” In this installment, there were two overarching foci: the Vertical Merger Guidelines (VMGs) and a return to the discussion around the Consumer Welfare Standard (CWS). Additionally, multiple speakers gave presentations throughout the day and their slides can be found here.

The fourth in the FTC’s set of hearings focusing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.”  The first day focused on a review of the current landscape of intellectual property and competition.  The second day featured a variety of panels focusing on the patent system, with panelists providing a wealth of important analysis.  

The third in the FTC’s set of hearings focusing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” In this installment, the overarching focus of the three-day hearing was on multi-sided platforms. There were key narrower examinations as well, such as defining multi-sided platforms and understanding competitor acquisitions.

The second in the FTC’s set of hearings focusing on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” The discussion revolved around the state of current U.S. antitrust law, including the consumer welfare standard, the intersection between intellectual property and antitrust, and vertical mergers.

In September 2018 the FTC held its first in a series of hearings called “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century”, modeled and influenced after the 1995 Pitofsky hearings, which strived to explore whether “evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection law, enforcement priorities, and policy.”

Competition

Some, if not all of society’s most useful innovations are the byproduct of competition. In fact, although it may sound counterintuitive, innovation often flourishes when an incumbent is threatened by a new entrant because the threat of losing users to the competition drives product improvement. The Internet and the products and companies it has enabled are no exception; companies need to constantly stay on their toes, as the next startup is ready to knock them down with a better product.