|Federal Trade Commission Act|
|CITATION||15 U.S.C. §§ 41-58|
|ENACTED||Created in 1938.|
The FTC Act established the Federal Trade Commission, which has a wide variety of issues it covers. Under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair or deceptive practices, the Commission can bring enforcement actions to ensure that companies are living up to the promises in their privacy statements. The Commission also uses its unfairness authority to challenge information practices that cause substantial consumer injury.
Under this Act, the Commission is empowered, among other things, to (a) prevent unfair methods of competition, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce; (b) seek monetary redress and other relief for conduct injurious to consumers; (c) prescribe trade regulation rules defining with specificity acts or practices that are unfair or deceptive, and establishing requirements designed to prevent such acts or practices; (d) conduct investigations relating to the organization, business, practices, and management of entities engaged in commerce; and (e) make reports and legislative recommendations to Congress.
|DATA COVERED||Personally identifiable information on consumers or information about untruthful or unlawful actions. The FTC also has jurisdiction over employment-related data.|
|INDUSTRY||The FTC has broad jurisdiction over most industries. The FTC does not, however, have jurisdiction over banks and common carriers, which are under the supervision of other governmental agencies.|
The Commission may" prosecute any inquiry necessary to its duties in any part of the United States" (FTC Act Sec. 3, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 43) and may" gather and compile information concerning, and to investigate from time to time the organization, business, conduct, practices, and management of any person, partnership, or corporation engaged in or whose business affects commerce, excepting banks, savings and loan institutions . . . Federal credit unions . . . and common carriers . . .." (FTC Act Sec. 6(a), 15 U.S.C. Sec. 46(a)).
Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. Sec. 53(b), authorizes the Commission to seek preliminary and permanent injunctions to remedy "any provision of law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission." Under the first proviso of Section 13(b), whenever the Commission has "reason to believe" that any party "is violating, or is about to violate" a provision of law enforced by the Commission, the Commission may ask the district court to enjoin the allegedly unlawful conduct, pending completion of an FTC administrative proceeding to determine whether the conduct is unlawful. Further, under the second proviso of Section 13(b), "in proper cases," the Commission may seek, and the court may grant, a permanent injunction.
The FTC also has the authority to litigate on its own and to establish rules for various industries.