Compliance Management, Network Security

McSweeney to leave FTC

And then there was one. Democrat Terrell McSweeney will step down from her role at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), leaving Republican acting Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen as the sole commissioner.

The agency, which usually boasts five commissioners, has been operating at a deficit for quite some time and McSweeney had been expected to stay until the roster was filled. But she said on Monday her resignation was effective April 28.

The FTC has aggressively pursued organizations for violating privacy and not security data, recently confirming it had launched a probe into Facebook after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica used the private information of 50 million users without their permission.

But that wasn't enough to mollify the FTC, which is investigating whether Facebook violated a 2011 consent decree, which required it to obtain user consent when privacy settings were changed or risk paying $40,000 per day for each violation.

“The FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers,” which includes “enforcement action against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises, including to comply with Privacy Shield, or that engage in unfair acts that cause substantial injury to consumers in violation of the FTC Act,” Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “Companies who have settled previous FTC actions must also comply with FTC order provisions imposing privacy and data security requirements.”

Saying that it “takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” the commission confirmed, “it has an open non-public investigation into these practices."

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