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On November 13–14, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” The panelists, an assembly of industry leaders, academics and enforcers, discussed consumer protection and antitrust issues that arise from harvesting data through AI, the role of industry in mitigating potential harms and whether government agencies can effectively prevent AI misuse within existing legal frameworks. Our client alert describes what measures companies and agencies can take to…
Companies that employ algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in their day-to-day business may face increased attention from federal antitrust and consumer protection regulators in the future. On November 13–14,  the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) addressed this topic in their hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” The panelists, an assembly of industry leaders, academics and enforcers, proposed methods for AI companies to improve data security and to promote industry self-regulation.…
Over a spirited dissent, and in a 3–1 decision issued on November 14, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioners held that 1-800 Contacts violated Section 5 of the FTC Action by entering into settlement agreements with competitors that (1) harmed consumers in the online sale of contact lenses and (2) harmed search engines by artificially reducing the prices paid for online advertisements. The settlement agreements at issue resolved allegations by 1-800 Contacts that its competitors…
Increasingly, the antitrust agencies have been challenging unreported transactions post-closing under the Clayton Act, seeking an unwinding of the transactions or at least divestitures of some of the assets purchased. Until recently, however, the threat that a private plaintiff would obtain a court order requiring an unwinding or divestiture once the deal has closed has been more theoretical than real. The threat may now be more real than theoretical. In what is the first decision…
Last week in a hearing before the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Makan Delrahim announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing criminal charges against competitors who allegedly engaged in a price-fixing scheme facilitated by the use of search algorithms. While he did not reveal further details about the case, AAG Delrahim announced that he expected the investigation to conclude soon. Algorithms are a series of…