David Vladeck, the new director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, held his first news (joint) conference today, "FTC Cracks Down on Scammers Trying to Take Advantage of the Economic Downturn." Obviously an enforcement effort under way for quite some time, and who can object?
The news prompts us to follow up on yesterday's post on regulators and regulatory philosophy, finding additional coverage of Vladeck's remarks to a recent ABA conference on consumer protection. Vladeck, who came to the FTC via Georgetown Law, formerly headed the Public Citizen Litigation Group, and you can see the litigation-driven regulatory philosophy on display in the ABA speech.
From the Consumer Advertising Law Blog from Arnold & Porter, LLP:
He believes he was chosen by Chairman Leibowitz to run the Bureau because he is an experienced litigator with a background in bringing test case litigation and also because of an interest in someone with "vision" and "fresh eyes." (For more on his background, see our post here.)
UPDATE: More from Kelley Drye & Warren LLP: "New Director of Consumer Protection Addresses Leaders at ABA Conference: Focuses on Enforcement and Privacy"
Vladeck was very clear about the challenges he faces and the need for immediate action due to the economic climate and the top priority given to the economic challenges that many consumers face. The new Bureau Director gave a preview of his strategic plans. He plans to keep up the existing aggressive pace in investigations and engage in increased policy and rule making. We will see more cases related to economic fraud, and this will continue until the economy turns around.
Vladeck also indicated a desire to "rethink" the agency's approach toward consumer privacy issues. More from Perkins Coie's Digestible Law blog, and Cynthia Larose at the Mintz Levin blog also identifies "online behavioral tracking" as a potential subject of FTC review.
UPDATE (5:35 p.m.) In other hot FTC news...From The New York Law Journal, "FTC Rule on Identity Theft Draws Strong Criticism From Bar Groups." The attorneys groups object to being included in the new requirements, which they view as a burden and a threat to confidentiality.