International consumer protection and cooperation
The FTC’s International Consumer Protection Program promotes enforcement, policy development, and technical assistance to protect consumers in the United States and abroad.
Dynamic changes in commerce, international telecommunications and Internet capabilities have opened up unprecedented opportunities for consumers and innovators. These advances also present unprecedented challenges: how to protect consumers from significant harm while maximizing economic benefits and consumer choice?
The FTC is rising to these challenges, working internationally to protect American consumers from traditional and emerging threats while embracing innovation. From raffle promotions sent internationally to internet promotions frauds that impersonate well-known companies and government agenciesAmerican consumers face new and sometimes deeply troubling challenges in an increasingly global and online environment.
This is why the FTC’s international efforts are more critical than ever. We work with over 100 foreign consumer and privacy authorities worldwide on enforcement and policy issues through formal and informal arrangements. Through this work, the FTC’s international consumer protection staff helps build and maintain alliances that broaden the reach of our enforcement efforts and enhance the protection of our consumers.
In the area of consumer protection and privacy enforcement, the FTC relies on four key tools: (1) information sharing; (2) assistance with investigations; (3) cross-border jurisdictional authority; and (4) enforcement relationships. The US SAFE WEB Act, which allows the FTC to share investigative documents and issue binding proceedings on behalf of foreign consumer protection counterparts, supports many of these tools.
Our involvement in multinational consumer and privacy protection groups also advances the FTC’s law enforcement mission. We are active in these groups:
The FTC also supports econsumer.gov, a project sponsored by ICPEN and consumer agencies in more than 60 economies. Consumers can use econsumer.gov to report cross-border complaints. Qualified law enforcement agencies can use these complaints to investigate fraud.
International enforcement of privacy measures is another FTC priority. In particular, the FTC enforces the EU-US Privacy Shield. Our international privacy work complements the FTC’s domestic enforcement and advances US cross-border commerce.
For political work on e-commerce and emerging technologies – two areas with significant impact on US consumers – the FTC participates in the following groups:
- OECD Consumer Policy Committee,
Main OECD documents
- APEC Steering Group on Electronic Commerce and its Subgroup on Data Privacy
- APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group.
The United Nations
- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Consumer Protection Guidelines,
Privacy issues also have an important international dimension. To enhance protections and safeguards for U.S. consumers, the FTC enforces European Union Privacy Shieldunder which American companies certify that they comply with the principles of the Privacy Shield.
The FTC also participates in major privacy networks, including
The FTC’s Technical Assistance Program helps foreign agencies implement laws and policies that protect both U.S. and foreign consumers. By fostering consumer confidence in the marketplace, these programs can help support sustained economic development and competitive market economies. Since 2007, the FTC has provided technical assistance on consumer and privacy issues to agencies in more than 100 countries.
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Our international staff also speak frequently at international privacy and consumer protection conferences. Through these commitments, the FTC promotes comprehensive and practical approaches to data privacy and security.
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|FTC International Policy Documents|
FTC Staff Comment on Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Discussion Paper (October 2016)
FTC Letter to ICANN Regarding the Commission’s Consumer Protection Concerns Regarding gLTDs (December 16, 2011)
Confidentiality and data security
Letter from President Edith Ramirez to Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, expressing the Federal Trade Commission’s commitment to protecting consumer privacy and the application of the Safe Harbor program
|Privacy and Safe Harbor: FTC Staff Comments on the European Commission’s Review of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework (November 12, 2013)|
|FTC Staff Commentary on the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills Consultation, Civil Remedies for Enforcement: Consultation on Expanding the Range of Remedies Available to Public Enforcement Authorities (December 31, 2012)|
|FTC Staff Comments on the European Commission’s Green Paper “Towards an Integrated European Market for Card, Internet, and Mobile Payments” (April 10, 2012)|
|FTC Staff Commentary on the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills Consultation, Consumer Empowerment and Protection: Consulting on Institutional Changes for the Provision of Consumer Information, Advice, Education, Advocacy and Enforcement (September 27, 2011)|
|Appendix A to Staff Commentary|
|FTC Staff Comments on the Modernization of Council of Europe Convention 108 (March 9, 2011)|
|FTC Staff Comments on the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Do Not Call Case Study (February 16, 2011)|
|FTC staff comments on Australian Communications and Media Authority spam case study (February 15, 2011)|
|FTC Staff Comments on Proposed South African Consumer Protection Regulations, 2010 (January 31, 2011)|
|FTC Staff Comments Submitted to the European Commission (EC) Consultation on the EC Data Protection Framework (January 13, 2011)|
|FTC and DHS Privacy Office Staff Comments on Joint Proposed International Privacy Standards for the Processing of Personal Data (the “Madrid Resolution”) (August 10, 2010)|
|US SAFE WEB law: The first three yearsA Report to Congress (2009)|
|US SAFE WEB Requests for Information and Investigative Assistance: Fact Sheet for Foreign Authorities|
|FTC and DHS Privacy Office Staff Comment dated May 14, 2009 on Version 3 of the Joint Proposed Draft International Privacy Standards for the Processing of Personal Data|
|United States Federal Trade Commission staff response to the UK Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Law Reform’s Consumer Law Review: Call for Evidence (April 2008)|
|U.S. Federal Trade Commission Staff Comments to the European Commission on its Draft RFID Recommendation (April 2008)|