data protection

The time is now for the U.S. FTC to combat dark patterns

Access Now filed comments to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on dark patterns following its workshop, Bringing Dark Patterns to Light. The comments examine the variety of dark patterns and their real-life harms, and call on the FTC to take action against them using at least its unfairness authority.

“Companies should not get away with creating tech that silently steals our data or unfairly influences us into wasting our money and time,” said Willmary Escoto, U.S. Policy Analyst at Access Now. “Websites and mobile applications should promote educational, financial, and social prosperity for all, not strip us from making autonomous decisions.”

Relatedly, Access Now with Consumer Reports, EFF, PEN America, and recently launched the Dark Patterns Tip Line, a new online platform for people in the U.S. to report dark patterns they encounter in everyday digital products and services. Submissions to the platform will improve the classification of these manipulative practices to help ensure human rights are at the core of product design.