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US: FTC announces improvements in transparency

 |  July 20, 2017

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen announced several internal process reforms in the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection that will streamline information requests and improve transparency in Commission investigations.

In April of this year, Ohlhausen announced new internal Working Groups on Agency Reform and Efficiency to improve processes and efficiency so that resources will be allocated where they will do the most good for the public. As part of this reform, the Acting Chairman directed the Bureau of Consumer Protection to identify best practices to streamline information requests and improve transparency in investigations. The process reforms announced on July 17 addressed CIDs (Civil Investigative Demands) in consumer protection cases, and include:

  • Providing plain language descriptions of the CID process and developing business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
  • Adding more detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the agency seeks;
  • Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies;
  • Where appropriate, significantly reducing the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data; and
  • Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of compliance by recipients.

Full Content: Federal Trade Commission

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