FTC wants public input on impact of companies collecting digital data

WASHINGTON — The federal government wants to know your thoughts on how your online information is collected and shared by tech companies and other businesses.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is holding a virtual public forum on September 8, 2022, from 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET on commercial surveillance and data security.

Commercial surveillance is when businesses collect, analyze and profit from our information online.

We spoke with people who say they want consumers to have more knowledge about how and when data is being collected.

“We have no idea what they’re doing,” said Molly Sullivan, a Denver resident visiting Washington, D.C. “You should at least know what they’re doing with your personal information and then it’s your choice if you use those apps or services.”

One of the issues the FTC is exploring is when our data isn’t properly secured, making it vulnerable to hackers and thieves.

“We are very, very eager to hear from the public,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan. “These comments will be critical for documenting specific harmful business practices and the prevalence.”

Pam Landrie said she doesn’t like it when websites seem to know information about you already.

“That freaks me out,” said Landrie. “If I look for sheets or something and then I log on or something, all of a sudden sheets are there.”

Landrie said there should be more oversight and said that consumers should be able to opt-in or out every time our data is collected.

“Ask me if they can sell my information or know where I am,” said Landrie.