The coming year will raise many questions about how e-commerce, social media and “ad tech” may continue collecting and using consumer data. Last year, legal developments left organizations that store and collect consumer information to wonder: (1) What are the limitations of data collection on the Internet; (2) how can data be used; and (3) what are “best practices” going forward?

Interestingly, the Federal Trade Commission began the year by trying to answer each of those questions, with a report titled “Big Data — A Tool For Inclusion or Exclusion?” (January 2016). The FTC report suggests that the FTC will police data practices even more aggressively this year by affirmatively setting certain policies. The FTC report also foreshadows new battles that will be drawn between industry and activists.

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