After three years as the Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman (FTC), Edith Ramirez is now stepping down. This week she announced she will finish out her time until President-elect Donald Trump takes his seat in the White House.
Ramirez gained the FTC a reputation during her time in Washington. Most know the FTC as technology regulators. For example, many would relate the emissions software scandal, associated with Volkswagen, to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, consumers should know that the FTC was in charge of figuring how much Volkswagen owed its consumers.
Yet Volkswagen isn’t the only company the FTC cracked down on. Cell phone carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile plague their users with third party charges all the time. Ramirez and the FTC strong-armed the companies into refunding $170 million to consumers.
From cars to cell phones then to apps like Snapchat. In 2014 the app allowed 4.6 million of it’s users to fall victim to an informational leak. Ramirez and the FTC aided in the regulation of security issues for Snapchat. The FTC also filed a lawsuit on Wyndham Worldwide. The FTC hoped to prove that companies are just as responsible for security breaches and hacks.
However, you can’t have the good without the bad. During Ramirez’s time as chairwoman, the FTC faced criticism as well. Many, including a few FTC members, disapproved of the way the FTC handed some technology cases. The criticizers said the FTC didn’t think of the consumer when it cracked down on certain issues that could be greatly beneficial. Another good example is the approach the FTC took towards Apples in-app purchases.
Later in 2013, a staff memo leaked. The memo showed that, in fear of the time and cost a legal battle would propose, the FTC turned a blind eye to Google. Some members discovered that the FTC initially suspected Google of anti-competitive behavior, like preventing advertisers from working with its rivals.
Despite these few eyebrow raises and questions of how the FTC handles big corporations, many believe that while Ramirez was chairwoman the FTC did a lot of good. Executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy commented, “Edith Ramirez brought the FTC into the 21st century.”
Ms. Ramirez departure from the position as chairwoman on February 10th. The only Republican at FTC, is Maureen Ohlhausen, who is rumored as a replacement.