The Federal Trade Commission has opened up public comments for their upcoming Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.

The hearings will take place during the fall and winter 2018 and will examine “whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement law, enforcement priorities, and policy,” according to the FTC website. FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement that the hearings are modeled after former Chairman Bob Pitofsky’s 1995 Global Competition and Innovation Hearings, which at the time “re-energized one of the FTC’s most valuable functions – to gather leaders in business, economics, law, and related disciplines to discuss tough, emerging problems and prepare public reports on the facts, issues, governing law, and the need, as appropriate, for change.”

In a Federal Register notice published on August 6, the FTC invites public comment through August 20 on the following topics:

  • The state of antitrust and consumer protection law and enforcement, and their development, since the Pitofsky hearings.
  • Competition and consumer protection issues in communication, information, and media technology networks.
  • The identification and measurement of market power and entry barriers, and the evaluation of collusive, exclusionary, or predatory conduct or conduct that violates the consumer protection statutes enforced by the FTC, in markets featuring “platform” businesses.
  • The intersection between privacy, big data, and competition.
  • The Commission’s remedial authority to deter unfair and deceptive conduct in privacy and data security matters.
  • Evaluating the competitive effects of corporate acquisitions and mergers.
  • The evidence and analysis of monopsony power, including but not limited to, in labor markets.
  • The role of intellectual property and completion policy in promoting innovation.
  • The consumer welfare implications associated with the use of algorithmic decision tools, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics.
  • The interpretation and harmonization of state and federal statutes and regulations that prohibit unfair and deceptive acts and practices.
  • The agency’s investigation, enforcement and remedial processes.

Additionally, the Commission will invite comments on the topic of each session and will issue a press release before each hearing to inform the public of the agenda, the date and location, and instructions on submitting comment. The FTC will also invite public comment upon the completion of the entire series of hearings.

The FTC prefers the electronic submission of comments, although paper comments are also accepted. Comments should refer to “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century Hearings, Project Number P181201.” Comments sent via postal mail should be sent to FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite CC-5610 (Annex C), Washington DC 20580.
Comments to Topic 1, “The state of antitrust and consumer protection law and enforcement, and their development, since the Pitofsky hearings” can be submitted via this link by August 20, 2018.