Amazon fights FTC probe of data safeguards in antitrust lawsuit has urged a U.S. judge to bar the Federal Trade Commission from probing the company’s data preservation efforts.

Published - May 15, 2024 09:09 am IST

Amazon fights FTC probe of data safeguards in antitrust lawsuit.

Amazon fights FTC probe of data safeguards in antitrust lawsuit. | Photo Credit: AP has urged a U.S. judge to bar the Federal Trade Commission from probing the company's data preservation efforts, arguing in a court filing that the agency had not shown any relevant evidence in its antitrust lawsuit has been lost.

Amazon’s Monday night filing in Seattle federal court came after the FTC claimed last month that the company had failed to stop the "widespread deletion" of senior executives’ messages on the communications platform Signal.

The FTC sued Amazon last year, accusing the company of abusing its retail market power to reduce competition and keep prices artificially high. Amazon has denied the allegations and asked a judge to dismiss the case.

Amazon and the FTC declined to comment. The FTC asked the court to force Amazon to reveal more information about its preservation practices. Amazon executives, the agency said, used Signal's “disappearing message” feature to destroy records of their internal communications despite being on notice to preserve such data.

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Signal is a popular, secure messaging service that allows users to set how long they want their messages to remain available.

Amazon countered in its Monday filing that the FTC was seeking legally protected information. It said its founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos started using Signal on his personal phone after his phone was hacked in 2018.

The company said it has been “cooperative and transparent about Signal” with the FTC, providing screenshots and other data to the agency as part of its request for information.

The FTC took testimony from Amazon executives including Bezos and current CEO Andrew Jassy, among others, about their Signal use, court records show.

Amazon said there was no evidence “despite the FTC’s best efforts to suggest otherwise” that company officials used Signal to discuss business practices that are at the heart of the case.

The case is Federal Trade Commission v. Inc, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, No. 2:23-cv-01495-JHC.

For FTC: Susan Musser, Edward Takashima and Emily Bolles of FTC

For Amazon: Patty Eakes and Molly Terwilliger of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Heidi Hubbard and John Schmidtlein of Williams & Connolly; Thomas Barnett and Katharine Mitchell-Tombras of Covington & Burling; and Kosta Stojilkovic of Wilkinson Stekloff

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