Creighton Hosts FTC: Consumer Protection Antitrust Laws Focus of Federal Hearing

The Federal Trade Commission held a hearing at Creighton University’s Hixon-Lied Auditorium on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (Courtesy Creighton University)

Issues of consumer privacy, data security and corporate transpar­ency weigh heavily on the minds of many Americans in today’s Big Tech economy. Perhaps none more than those tasked with enforcing the nation’s laws.

On June 12, the Creighton University School of Law hosted representatives from the Federal Trade Commission and the attor­ney general offices of more than a dozen states as they discussed these topics and more during the final session of the FTC’s Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.

Officials met in Creighton’s Hixson-Lied Auditorium for a se­ries of wide-ranging panel talks, all of which focused on how best to enforce consumer protection and antitrust laws. Members of the au­dience – which included lawyers, law students, consumer advocates and journalists – were invited to submit questions to the expert pan­elists.

The hearing was the 14th and final installment of the FTC’s Hearings Initiative, which be­gan in September 2018. Held at law schools and legal institutions across the country, the hearings aimed to determine whether new developments in business and tech­nology necessitate changes to ex­isting policies.

“With a dynamic environment, effective regulation requires infor­mation about practices, concerns and potential harms. These hear­ings invite knowledgeable panel­ists to participate, allowing dis­course, knowledge and insights to be shared, which in turn can influ­ence policymaking and enforce­ment efforts,” said Edward Morse, Creighton law professor and a hear­ing moderator.

Before the session began, Creighton Provost Thomas Murray, welcomed the panelists to campus. The spirit of the hearings, he said, fit perfectly with the university’s core mission.

“The process of learning, shar­ing and growing knowledge is at the heart of what we do,” Murray said. “There is much we can learn from each other through this hear­ing today.”

Early discussions focused on how officials at the state level can collaborate with the FTC to protect consumers and regulate technology companies. The day’s featured pan­elists included Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and repre­sentatives from the attorney gen­eral offices of South Dakota, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and oth­er states.

Each panelist spent a few min­utes presenting on a specific area of interest. 

Benjamin Wiseman, director of the office of consumer protection in the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, spoke about the need for technology companies to be transparent about the algorithms behind certain web products. In some cases, he said, evidence of racial discrimination has been found in targeted housing ads and internet-based hiring services.

An archived video of the hearing is available at

– Creighton University


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