Senate Commerce OKs FTC Nominees

The Senate Commerce Committee has voted to recommend full Senate confirmation of the four new Federal Trade Commissioners who will be overseeing broadband privacy and neutrality per the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order. It was a voice vote, so all were essentially unanimous.

That came at an executive session Wednesday. Next stop is a confirmation vote in the Senate, which will pave the way for their installation at the commission (unlike legislation, nominations don't need approval from both houses, just the Senate).

Getting the nod were the nominations of Joseph Simons (chairman), Rohit Chopra, Noah Joshua Phillips and Christine Wilson.

Related: FTC Could Cast Its Gaze at Big Tech

The committee held a hearing on the nominations Feb. 14.

The FTC has been at the bare minimum two commissioners for most of a year. It can still take action, but it obviously has to be unanimous.

Simons has told the committee that he believes the top three challenges facing the FTC are addressing concerns that it has been too permissive in dealing with mergers, reducing the failure rate of some of its divestiture remedies, and protecting consumers from cyber threats without unduly burdening them or preventing companies from using data to "enhance competition.

Related: FTC Makes Case for Data, Sescurity, Privacy

The commission will be inheriting new broadband oversight responsibilities with the FCC's vote to reclassify ISPs as Title I services, so look for Committee Democrats to press Simons and the other commissioners on that oversight.

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.