Following Public Service Recognition Week, the Federal Trade Commission released its Fiscal Year 2023 Annual Report outlining the agency’s work to protect consumers and promote competition.

“The FTC is focused on ensuring that American consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs can enjoy honest markets and the economic liberty that fair and free competition provides,” said FTC Chair Lina M. Khan. “As detailed in this report, the work of our talented and dedicated staff in FY 2023 made Americans’ lives better in meaningful and material ways—from safeguarding people’s access to affordable healthcare to protecting people’s sensitive data from unchecked surveillance.”

The report lays out the Commission’s work to vigorously enforce the nation’s antitrust and consumer protection laws in a constantly evolving modern economy. As artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making tools proliferated, the FTC’s enforcement and policy efforts have been forward-looking—enabling the agency to stay on the cutting edge as these technologies develop.

In FY 2023, the FTC made programmatic strides to protect Americans’—and especially children’s—privacy; hold companies that defraud the public accountable; stop companies from hiking prices with needless junk fees; shut down subscription tricks and traps; make clear there is no AI exemption for the laws on the books; and ensure that domestic manufacturers, independent repairers, and other small businesses can compete on a level playing field. As part of its work to protect consumers, the FTC in FY 2023:

  • Sued Amazon for engaging in a years-long effort to enroll consumers into its Prime program without their consent while knowingly making it difficult for consumers to cancel their Prime subscriptions;
  • Announced the largest telemarketing sweep in U.S. history, in partnership with more than 100 federal and state law enforcers, targeting operations responsible for billions of illegal robocalls to Americans;
  • Filed a lawsuit against owners of a money-making scheme that claimed to use artificial intelligence to boost earnings for consumers’ e-commerce storefronts; and  
  • Took action to protect Americans’ privacy by bringing several cases. They included actions against Amazon and Microsoft for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, against BetterHelp for deceiving users about their health data sharing practices, against the maker of the Premom app for violating the Health Breach Notification Rule, and against Ring for failing to stop employees from viewing customer videos and hackers from taking control of consumers’ accounts, cameras, and videos.

The FTC also continued to deploy its full toolkit to block anticompetitive mergers, halt anticompetitive practices to monopolize markets, and prevent businesses from using unfair tactics to gain an advantage. In critical sectors across the economy, the agency brought important and justified, yet challenging, theories and cases and pursued bold remedies to fully restore and prevent competitive harms. In addition to the FTC’s enforcement work, the agency worked to update U.S. federal enforcers’ merger policy to reflect market realities and help courts develop and clarify the law through amicus briefs. This work included:

  • Taking action, in partnership with 17 state attorneys general, against Amazon by alleging the company illegally maintained its monopoly power and raised prices for sellers and shoppers;
  • Filing a lawsuit against U.S. Anesthesia Partners and private equity firm Welsh Carson for engaging in a multi-year scheme to monopolize anesthesiology practices in Texas, driving up the prices of anesthesia services for Texas patients to increase profits; and
  • Blocking anticompetitive mergers in sectors across the economy, including the world’s largest health care data provider, IQVIA’s, proposed acquisition of Propel Media, Inc.

Across the agency’s work, the FTC continued to prioritize opening its doors to hear from Americans across the country—including through Open Commission Meetings, comment dockets, public workshops, and listening forums. 

Official news published at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/05/ftc-releases-fiscal-year-2023-annual-report

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