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‘Dark Patterns’ in Consumer Data Privacy Garner Policy Attention

The FTC’s dark patterns workshop could help make the argument for added legal authority over business practices that are seen as abusive, according to Woodrow Hartzog, a professor of law and computer science at Northeastern University. Hartzog said he has advocated for Congress to modify Section 5 of the FTC Act to include oversight over abusive practices, “which would squarely address a range of dark patterns.”
 
“A little manipulation here and there might not reach the level of policy concern,” he said. “But when you can do it consistently, then it starts drawing attention.”