Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said Monday that the leaks by Edward Snowden about National Security Agency surveillance have led to a positive public discussion about privacy.
“It’s been a catalyst for very healthy debate for privacy generally,” she said during a discussion at a technology conference at the University of Colorado, saying the leaks “put a spotlight on the issue more broadly.”
Ramirez emphasized that her agency has jurisdiction over only the commercial sector and that she wasn’t making any comment about the national security impact of Snowden’s actions. But she argued that the news alerted people to how changing technologies have allowed for the tracking and collection of information about nearly their every action online.
The FTC, an independent executive-branch agency, is the main regulator for commercial privacy issues. The agency uses its power over “unfair” or “deceptive” business practices to sue companies like Facebook and Google that violate the terms of their own privacy policies.
Obama named Ramirez as chairwoman of the agency last year. She had served as one of the five FTC commissioners since 2010.
The Snowden leaks have also damaged the reputation of the U.S. overseas, Ramirez said at Monday’s conference. She argued that it’s important that the United States coordinate its privacy rules with authorities in Europe and elsewhere.
The news reports about how the NSA spies on foreign citizens and leaders have undermined trust in the United States on privacy issues and hurt its ability to negotiate, she said.
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"Wikileaks published more than 8,000 documents purportedly taken from the Democratic National Committee Friday, just days before the start of the party's convention in Philadelphia. The documents included briefings on off-the-record fundraisers and candid photographs."
Hillary Clinton "is widely expected to announce her choice" of vice president "in an email to supporters while on a campaign swing in Florida on Friday afternoon." The consensus: it'll be Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, although Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are also said to be in the running.
- A Rasmussen Reports poll shows Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton, 43%-42%, the fourth week in a row he's led the poll (one of the few poll in which he's led consistently of late).
- A Reuters/Ipsos survey shows Clinton leading 40%-36%. In a four-way race, she maintains her four-point lead, 39%-35%, with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein pulling 7% and 3%, respectively.
- And the LA Times/USC daily tracking poll shows a dead heat, with Trump ahead by about half a percentage point.