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FTC final rule on impersonation of government and businesses

The Federal Trade Commission has finalized its Trade Regulation Rule on Impersonation of Government and Businesses (16 C.F.R. Part 461), which prohibits the impersonation of government, businesses, and their officials or agents in interstate commerce as deceptive or unfair acts or practices.

The new rule will become effective 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

The FTC has also issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that would, if finalized as proposed, amend the amend the new rule to revise its title, add a prohibition on the impersonation of individuals, and extend liability for violations of the rule to parties who provide goods and services with knowledge or reason to know that those goods or services will be used in impersonations of the kind that are themselves unlawful under the Rule.

In its press release announcing the rule on impersonation of government and businesses and the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that would amend the rule, the FTC said it is proposing the amendments in light of surging complaints around impersonation fraud, as well as public outcry about the harms caused to consumers and to impersonated individuals. The Commission said that “emerging technology – including AI-generated deepfakes – threatens to turbocharge this scourge, and the FTC is committed to using all of its tools to detect, deter, and halt impersonation fraud.”

Comments on the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking will be accepted for 60 days after Federal Register publication.

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