WASHINGTON – Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) on behalf of D-Link Systems, Inc. today filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California a Motion to Dismiss the baseless charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) regarding the company’s security practices for consumer routers and IP cameras.
In an eleventh-hour attempt to expand its own authority to regulate the Internet of Things (“IoT”) before the new administration took office, the FTC in early January filed a complaint against D-Link Systems. The complaint makes vague and unsubstantiated allegations, without asserting a single data breach of any product sold by D-Link Systems in the U.S. Instead, the FTC speculates that consumers were placed “at risk,” to be hacked, but fails to allege, as it must, that consumers suffered or are likely to suffer actual substantial injuries. D-Link Systems stands behind its products and maintains a robust range of procedures to address potential security vulnerabilities.
“This is a case of politicized government overreach without justification or any evidence of consumer injury,” said Patrick Massari, assistant vice president, CoA Institute. “In fact, to her credit, Acting Chairwoman Ohlhausen voted not to bring this case and has spoken out against the agency filing other lawsuits ‘on the eve of a new presidential administration’ that are based on a flawed legal theory and lack economic and evidentiary support.
“This case should be dismissed now. Congress did not delegate to FTC the authority to regulate data security for IoT companies, and therefore FTC’s putative regulation is beyond its legal power. Moreover, the FTC fails in its Complaint to plead the basic elements of proof necessary for a Section 5 ‘unfairness’ violation. The FTC’s action sets a dangerous precedent, whereby the federal government could subject liability to any company that makes an internet-connected product. The FTC’s lawsuit violates D-Link Systems’ due process rights, and will no doubt have a chilling effect on innovation. For these reasons we have urged the Court to dismiss this Complaint in its entirety.”
The FTC has no authority under Section 5(n) of the FTC Act to declare unlawful an act or practice “on the grounds that such act or practice is unfair unless the act or practice causes or is likely to cause substantial injury to consumers which is not reasonably avoidable by consumers themselves and not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.” As D-Link Systems Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss points out, the FTC’s Complaint pleads legal conclusions couched as hypothetical, speculative factual allegations. FTC’s “deception” allegations should also be dismissed for failure to meet the heightened pleading standards set by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b), which requires such claims to be pled with particularity.
About Cause of Action Institute: Cause of Action Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit working to enhance individual and economic liberty by limiting the power of the administrative state to make decisions that are contrary to freedom and prosperity by advocating for a transparent and accountable government free from abuse.
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