PIRG’s comments to the FTC on its big data rulemaking

The FTC should write rules reining in how companies collect, sell and use our data.

An illustration of a laptop screen with a warning alert
Darwin Laganzon | Pixabay.com
Protecting your information online has never been more important.

Whenever we go online, we generate a lot of data – what sites we look at, what purchases we make, what searches we conduct, what apps we use. Companies collect, sell and use this data. They know more about us than at any other point in history.

That includes our internal lives. Advertisers know more about our weaknesses, insecurities, and emotional and behavioral patterns than ever before – and they use it to target us with ads online. Those targeted ads serve a range of purposes – from scamming or manipulating consumers, to just further increasing over-consumption and its environmental costs – none of which are in the public interest.

The FTC is considering writing rules to rein in “commercial surveillance”. PIRG supports writing new rules to protect people’s data, and to make sure companies are only collecting about us what they need to deliver the service we’re expecting – and using it only for that purpose.

You can download PIRG’s comments to the FTC above.


R.J. Cross

Director, Don't Sell My Data Campaign, PIRG; Policy Analyst, Frontier Group

R.J. focuses on manipulative advertising and the commercialization of personal data online as a part of her work to advance PIRG’s New Economy program. In her work at Frontier Group, she has authored research reports on government transparency, predatory auto lending and consumer debt. She was previously the tax and budget advocate for PIRG. When she’s not protecting the public interest, she is an avid reader, fiction writer and birder.

Find Out More