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FTC chief says considering rule-makings on consumer privacy

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering writing rules to fight data privacy abuses, poor online security and the use of algorithms that may lead to discrimination, the agency's chair said in a letter released on Friday.

The letter from FTC Chair Lina Khan to Senator Richard Blumenthal, which was dated Tuesday, said the commission was "considering initiating a rulemaking" that would focus on online privacy and security as well as potential civil rights violations.

The agency is considering the move under a streamlined process that was announced in July.

"I share your concerns about commercial surveillance and am committed to ensuring the FTC is using its full suite of tools to protect Americans from unfair or deceptive practices online," wrote Khan. She added that increased reliance on the internet during the coronavirus pandemic "makes this a particularly urgent and opportune time" to tackle online privacy and security matters.

The commission currently has two Democrats and two Republicans. A third Democrat, Alvaro Bedoya, is in the confirmation process.

Khan could well run into opposition from Republicans on the commission, who voted to oppose the streamlined rule-making.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Dan Grebler)