On July 17th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced reforms to its civil investigative demand (CID) process designed to streamline information requests and improve transparency in FTC investigations. The process reforms that will be implemented for consumer protection cases include:
- Providing plain language descriptions of the CID process and developing business education materials to help small businesses understand how to comply;
- Adding more detailed descriptions of the scope and purpose of investigations to give companies a better understanding of the information the agency seeks;
- Where appropriate, limiting the relevant time periods to minimize undue burden on companies;
- Where appropriate, significantly reducing the length and complexity of CID instructions for providing electronically stored data;
- Where appropriate, increasing response times for CIDs (for example, often 21 days to 30 days for targets, and 14 days to 21 days for third parties) to improve the quality and timeliness of compliance by recipient; and
- Ensuring companies are aware of the status of investigations by adhering to the current practice of communicating with investigation targets concerning the status of investigations at least every six months after they comply with the CID.