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FTC chair says will tighten orders as Twitter whistleblower exposes flaws

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan said her agency is taking a stronger approach to consent decrees compared to a 2011 deal with Twitter Inc. that was criticized in a whistle-blower's complaint

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Twitter | United States | Companies

Anna Edgerton | Bloomberg 



Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan (Photo: Bloomberg)
Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan (Photo: Bloomberg)

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan said her agency is taking a stronger approach to consent decrees compared to a 2011 deal with Inc. that was criticized in a whistle-blower’s complaint.

“There absolutely has been a problem with treating FTC orders as suggestions,” Khan told the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on Tuesday. “We have a program under way to really toughen that up.”

Khan said future consent decrees would tighten assessment of a company’s compliance and could name individual executives responsible for the underlying conduct. She described Twitter’s 2011 deal with the FTC as “a more legacy approach” that her team is eschewing in favor of “bright line” rules that set more specific boundaries for corporate behavior.

Twitter’s former head of security, Peiter Zatko, last month filed a whistle-blower complaint with federal regulators, including the FTC, criticizing the platform’s data management and accusing the company of a lack of transparency with its board and investors. He also called US consumer protections inadequate compared to those of other countries.

In a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Zatko said the FTC was “letting grade their own homework,” which sparked calls from senators for an independent regulator focused on the technology industry.

The FTC in May fined $150 million for not complying with that 2011 agreement to tighten security controls and respect user privacy. Zatko said a one-time fine for a profitable company isn’t an adequate deterrent.

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First Published: Wed, September 21 2022. 08:40 IST

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