Klobuchar, Blackburn Ask FTC to Make Edge Investigations Public

A bipartisan Senate duo has pressed the Federal Trade Commission to go public with any investigation it is conducting of Google or other edge providers given "concerns regarding potential privacy, data security, and antitrust violations involving online platforms."



That came in a letter to the FTC from Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the latter a presidential candidate joining Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in talking tough about the edge.

The senators recognize that the FTC does not usually comment on investigations, but suggested it was a "uniquely important" national issue given discussions about the conduct of Google Facebook and other edge providers.

Related: Sen. Blumenthal Says FTC Should Investigate Google

"The intensive collection and monetization of consumers’ personal data by digital platforms, as well as reported breaches of consumer data held by these companies, has raised significant questions regarding privacy and data security," they wrote. "In particular, some have expressed concern that Facebook’s recently announced plans to integrate its three messaging platforms—WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger—may lead to Facebook sharing user data between its platforms. As Congress considers legislation to enact stronger safeguards for consumers’ online privacy, we urge the FTC to use its existing authority to protect the privacy and security of consumers’ online data."

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) applauded the letter. "We have led a coalition of consumer and privacy advocates in filing a string of complaints which show that Google is endangering the privacy and well-being of children," they said. "To date, the FTC has not acted or even commented publicly on any of these complaints."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.