The ruling in Federal Trade Commission v. Wyndham is expected to come out in a matter of days, and Politico talked with TF’s Berin Szoka and other experts on the agency to see what the outcome could mean:
Any day now, the United States could lose nearly all the power it has to combat data breaches.
An outstanding court case pits the Wyndham hotel chain against the Federal Trade Commission, the de facto national cop for businesses that fail to protect customers’ data. The company is the first to challenge the agency’s role, claiming Congress never gave it that jurisdiction. The FTC holds up its consumer protection creed as justification for its enforcement action.
High-profile data thefts at Target and Neiman Marcus have reignited concerns over consumers’ personal information and triggered a flurry of Hill hearings. But it’s a lone case in a New Jersey federal court that has the potential to upend one of the country’s only avenues for enforcement.
“The real issue isn’t the FTC’s authority,” said Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom. “It’s more about whether it actively lets companies know where the line is, or more importantly, whether the FTC should be the one setting the line.”