TechFreedom President Berin Szoka and Executive Director of the International Center for Law and Economics Geoffrey Manne were quoted on the recent FTC fine of Google in the August 10 edition of Warren News' Communications Daily:
The size of the fine "is a distraction from the real story: The FTC holds Google liable for a statement in a help page that was true when made and became untrue only because Apple quietly changed how its Safari browser handles cookies," said TechFreedom President Berin Szoka and International Center for Law & Economics Executive Director Geoffrey Manne in a joint statement (http://xrl.us/bnj33p). Holding companies responsible "for monitoring everything their rivals do that might affect their own past privacy statements will only discourage them from explaining their privacy practices in the first place," they said: "This is sadly ironic, as policymakers have spent years bemoaning the inadequacy of privacy policies and demanding companies do more to educate consumers." With Google, Facebook, Twitter and MySpace all under 20-year consent decrees for privacy kerfuffles, each "now risks incurring unpredictable fines and enormous reputational costs for conduct the FTC likely couldn’t punish under its general Section 5 powers," prove liability or justify the fine's size, Szoka and Manne said. "Such arbitrary regulation-bysettlement undermines the rule of law and harms consumers by deterring privacy disclosures."