progress for Economic Liberty, regulatory reform, small business, and more
Trade Commission Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen
released a summary of the
agency’s major accomplishments since President Trump named her to the
position in January. “I have pursued my long-held principles by promoting
economic liberty, protecting consumers (including the military community and
small business) and competition, reforming regulation, and increasing agency
transparency,” the Acting Chairman said. “In my first 6 months as Acting
Chairman, we have accomplished much of this ambitious agenda,” Ohlhausen stated.
LIBERTY – Acting
Chairman Ohlhausen’s first initiative established an
FTC Economic Liberty Task Force to collaborate with state leaders and other
stakeholders on occupational licensing reform. The Task Force submitted
comments on a state bill to reduce licensing requirements; launched a new
website – ftc.gov/econliberty; and
conducted dozens of interviews with a variety of stakeholders. The Task Force will
hold a public roundtable on July 27, 2017, focusing on license
portability, including for the military community, among other issues.
“Economic liberty is fundamental to our American way of life and I have spent
much of my career advancing it. Unfortunately, too many citizens now need a
government permission slip to work,” said Ohlhausen.
REFORM and AGENCY STREAMLINING –
Excessive regulation and bureaucracy create significant burdens on the public,
while diverting resources from the agency’s core mission to protect consumers
and promote competition. Acting Chairman Ohlhausen
directed staff to find ways to reduce agency requests, add transparency, and
lighten regulatory burdens.
Last week, the agency announced several measures
by the Bureau of Consumer Protection to streamline information requests to
businesses, while preserving the agency’s ability to conduct thorough
investigations. In June, the agency announced proposals to minimize or
eliminate certain regulations that may no longer be in the public interest,
including the 1966 Picture Tube
rule and the 1959 Textile Rule. Further
streamlining will occur as the FTC continues its regular, systematic
reviews of all rules and guides, assessing
their costs and benefits to consumers and businesses.
SMALL BUSINESS – At the Acting Chairman’s direction,
the agency launched a new small business website – ftc.gov/SmallBusiness – with information to help small
business owners avoid scams and protect their systems and customer data from
threats. The site, which includes a new Small Business Computer Security Basics
guide, also has information on other cyber threats such as ransomware and
The FTC kicked off a new “Engage, Connect, and
Protect” Initiative, launching a nationwide dialogue on cybersecurity with
small businesses. The first event is today in Portland, Oregon, in conjunction
with the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s conference on “Understanding your
Cybersecurity: 5 Steps to Protect Your Business.” Several other events are
WITH SECURITY – At
Acting Chairman Ohlhausen’s direction, the Federal
Trade Commission is publishing lessons from closed investigations, as well as
FTC enforcement actions, to help businesses
protect and secure consumer data. These new
posts will build on the FTC’s Start with Security guide.
PRIVACY – In June, Acting Chairman Ohlhausen oversaw the Connected Cars
workshop, with NHTSA, which focused on
balancing the privacy and safety impacts of this technology with consumer
benefits. The agency also recently announced the 2018 PrivacyCon, with a
new focus on the economics of privacy, including how to quantify the harms that
result from information exposures. Other topics will include the privacy and
security implications of emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things,
artificial intelligence, and virtual reality.
PROTECTION ENFORCEMENT –
Under Acting Chairman Ohlhausen’s leadership, the
agency has continued to pursue its long-standing consumer protection mission.
During her tenure, the FTC filed or settled 44 consumer protection matters in
district court, reached 14 administrative consent agreements related to
consumer protection, and distributed $86,519,000 in redress to over a million
Acting Chairman Ohlhausen
has also expanded the agency’s focus on military consumers. This includes a new military.consumer.gov website and a series of Military Financial
ENFORCEMENT – Chairman Ohlhausen has aggressively challenged conduct that abuses
government process for anticompetitive purposes. The agency brought a case
against ViroPharma Inc. alleging it engaged in sham
petitioning to delay the market entry of generic competitors. The agency filed an
administrative complaint against the Louisiana Board of Real Estate Appraisers alleging that it improperly sought to
impose a price floor on real estate appraisal services.
As for merger enforcement, the parties in the
Draft Kings/FanDuel matter abandoned their planned
merger after the Commission sought a preliminary injunction in federal district
court. The FTC has also successfully negotiated merger settlements
requiring divestitures in a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals,
agricultural chemicals, animal vaccines, and others.
“The last six months have been productive and
successful. I’ve advanced the agency’s mission to protect consumers and promote
competition, refocused agency resources to better serve the public, and pruned
unnecessary and outdated regulations,” Ohlhausen said.
“I look forward to continuing to pursue my positive agenda on behalf of
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate
consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP
(382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us
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PRESS RELEASE REFERENCE:
FTC Announces Regulatory Reform Measures Ranging from TVs and
Textiles to Energy Labels and Email
New FTC Website Helps Small Businesses Avoid Scams and Cyber
Stick with Security: FTC to Provide Additional Insights on
Reasonable Data Security Practices
FTC Launches New Website Dedicated to Economic Liberty
Office of Public Affairs