Each year, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) hosts a bipartisan group of state attorneys general (AGs) in Washington, D.C. for the group’s Capital Forum meeting, where the AGs set forth NAAG’s agenda and policy focus for the coming year. At this year’s Capital Forum, held last week, Iowa AG Tom Miller took the reigns as NAAG’s president and introduced his presidential initiative: "Consumer Protection 2.0: Tech Threats and Tools."
Top Biden administration officials, including Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Chair Rohit Chopra, presented at the meeting, saying outright that collaboration with the states on corporate consumer enforcement is a top priority. The AGs and federal officials emphasized specific concerns about the role of algorithms, business consolidation, and “corporate recidivism.” Businesses should be aware that the Biden administration intends to share substantial resources with the states in a manner that will lead to a significant increase in enforcement. The thread connecting all of these topics is consumer protection – ranging from enforcement involving conventional consumer scams to complex fraud involving intricate multi-jurisdictional frauds – and likely will touch on nearly every industry sector.
Of note, AG engagement on algorithm-related policy is already occurring. Late last week, on the heels of the NAAG Capital Forum, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine worked with a city council member to introduce legislation aimed at addressing algorithmically-generated discriminatory practices. This legislation would implement stringent notice and consent requirements and would require companies to undertake annual audits and enter into agreements with algorithm service providers to ensure compliance with the law. Further, in addition to empowering the AG to bring enforcement actions under the law (as well as audit authority), the bill also introduces a private right of action. AG Racine has expressed his fervent hope that his efforts will encourage other states to take similarly aggressive actions to reshape the entire tech ecosystem.