Tech leaders unnerved by looming federal privacy crackdown

ASPEN, Colorado — News of a potential avalanche of online privacy rules shook up a recent meeting of preeminent tech experts, regulators, and elected officials.

At the Technology Policy Institute’s annual conference in August, many participants were taken by surprise at the Federal Trade Commission’s announcement about its pending first steps to clamp down on user data. Since Congress is already considering legislation on the topic, industry watchers had assumed the commission would defer to the legislative branch.

But with doubts about Congress’s capacity to act, and with Republicans within striking distance of winning a House majority on Nov. 8, the
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