Info 296A

The Federal Trade Commission and Online Privacy

3 units

Warning message

This course is not currently offered.

Course Description

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has emerged as the primary regulator of online privacy. In a recent case, the FTC marked the end of contract law approaches to online privacy in favor of a more interventionalist approach. Years of protecting consumers against “harm” has evolved to an attempt to protect consumer “dignity” in online commerce.

This transition has profound implications for US online commerce. In grounding privacy rights in dignitary interests, the line between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors will become less clear. Those wishing to represent online businesses should have a strong understanding of this agency, its norms, and approaches to address clients’ business challenges. This seminar will explore the agency’s dominance in the law of online privacy and security, its policy approaches, and in particular, how it should address growing concern over online privacy.

Students will be required to prepare a significant policy document on the FTC that will be shared with the agency’s leadership. Additionally, students will author a shorter paper focusing upon some aspect of the FTC or its leadership. (We post these on 

Note: In Fall 2011, this course is cross-listed as Law 279.7 section 1.

In Spring 2010, this course was offered for 2 units and cross-listed with Law 276P.1.


This course has no prerequisites; however, Administrative Law and Information Privacy Law are both recommended.

Last updated:

September 30, 2019