Federal Trade Commission staffers earlier this year recommended filing a lawsuit against Amazon over alleged privacy and data security breaches within Amazon’s Ring home security business, according to two people with knowledge of the investigation. But after Amazon lawyers began negotiating a settlement with the FTC, the agency’s chair Lina Khan stepped in to suspend the work, the people said.
Khan, who acted shortly after taking over the FTC, may have pulled back because she wanted to file a broader case against Amazon rather than pursue piecemeal lawsuits, although her precise reasoning isn’t known. Khan and others at the FTC have argued that privacy-related issues shouldn’t always be separated from antitrust concerns. As things now stand, the FTC faces challenges pursuing a privacy case against Amazon, although legislation before Congress could ease the agency’s path.