EPIC, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, and US PIRG submitted comments to the FTC in advance of hearings on "Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century." The consumer groups said that privacy protection is critical for competition and innovation. The groups told the FTC that it should: 1) unwind the Facebook-WhatsApp deal; 2) require Facebook and Google to spin off their advertising units into independent companies; 3) block all future acquisitions by Facebook and Google that would enable the companies to increase their monopoly over consumer data; 4) impose privacy safeguards for all future mergers that implicate data privacy concerns; and 5) perform audits of algorithmic tools to promote accountability and to limit anticompetitive conduct. This will be the first time the FTC has reexamined its approach to consumer protection and competition since the FTC's 1995 hearings on "Global Competition and Innovation." EPIC participated in the 1995 hearings which led to the FTC's work on consumer privacy.
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