FTC agrees to make compliance report public in face recognition-related case; WPF comments had a positive impact

We are extremely pleased and heartened that after years of requesting that the FTC make compliance reports public, that the Commission has agreed to do so with the Everalbum settlement. WPF submitted comments regarding the Everalbum proposed settlement to the US Federal Trade Commission on February 23, 2021. Today, the FTC announced the final settlement and responded to our comments. From the FTC’s letter to World Privacy Forum:

Your comment requests that the Commission make Everalbum’s compliance report public proactively rather than requiring members of the public to file Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests to obtain it. Based upon your comment and the Commission’s recognition that there has been substantial public interest in the proposed order’s requirement for Everalbum to delete certain data, the Commission commits to making Everalbum’s compliance report public, subject to appropriate redactions for trade secrets or other confidential commercial or financial information, as permitted by FOIA. (excerpt from FTC letter to WPF, May 6, 2021 )

We applaud the FTC for making this decision, and thank them for acting on consumers’ behalf in one of the first FTC face recognition settlements that requires deletion of biometric materials acquired without consent. The Commissioners’ decisions have provided advancements in transparency and privacy for consumers.

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