OUR Featured Researcher: Francesca Corti '24
Francesca Corti (she/her) is a Politics and Law and Society major. Her research mentor is Professor Miranda Yaver, and her research is titled "An Administrative Law Analysis of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act".
Please describe your research project:
The American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), a bill introduced earlier this year, is the first attempt at crafting federally comprehensive data privacy legislation. The Act delegates rulemaking power to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), giving it formidable authority to regulate companies' data collection and transparency practices. While the ADPPA is in its current notice-and-comment rulemaking period, a debate has arisen as to whether FTC is fit to oversee such data privacy regulations and how far the boundaries of their administrative power reach. My research aims to provide an administrative law analysis of the ADPPA and its implications for the future of data privacy law regarding FTC rulemaking authority.
A brief summary (the elevator speech) of your research project:
I am analyzing the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) from an administrative law perspective. My focus is on how the interpretation of the bill impacts the scope of authority for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to make rules regarding the data collection practices of companies.
Why is your research important?
The ADPPA is the first attempt at federal comprehensive data privacy legislation, so determining its efficacy from an administrative law standpoint is critical to understanding its possible efficacy. Additionally, the FTC is the administrative agency for all legislation regarding consumer protection, and there are broader implications for what falls under the agency’s ability to regulate deceptive commercial practices.
What does the process of doing your research look like?
Right now my research process includes referencing my trusty book Administrative Law: Examples and Explanations for my analysis, pouring over FTC press releases for new documents and updates about rulemaking and examining any amendments to the ADPPA. I am also in contact with a scholar from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard about further research leads.
How did you get involved in research on campus?
Professor Yaver encouraged me to apply for a Jere Bruner Grant after I spoke to her about my research interests during office hours. Her Law and Public Policy course sparked my interest in the unique challenges of administrative law. Even before coming to Oberlin, I had always wanted to pursue a project researching data privacy legislation, so I worked with her to combine those two interests into a research project proposal.
What is your favorite part about engaging in this work?
I love how current and impactful my project is since I am researching political dilemmas that are being debated at this very moment. I was overjoyed when the ADPPA finally passed the House Committee on Energy & Commerce this summer. Because this legislation has such a now-or-never quality to it, I feel motivated to learn about the administrative dynamics of such a consequential bill for data privacy in the United States.
How has the research you’ve conducted contributed to your professional or academic development?
I have graciously been given the opportunity to make connections with scholars who specifically work in the field of data privacy law. Connecting with these folks has shed light on what graduate-level research is like, should I choose to pursue that path after my time at Oberlin.
What advice would you give to a younger student wanting to get involved in research in your field?
Sometimes I felt discouraged because I believed my research interests were too niche. That quickly changed when I found a professor I felt a connection with and who encouraged me to follow my passion. Get to know your professors, go to office hours to bounce ideas around, and talk to them about departmental research opportunities and funding.