The Food and Drugs Administration on Thursday unveiled a new rule aimed at making it harder for online retailers to target consumers based on their health information.
The rule would give the Food & Drug Administration more leeway to take action against service providers that fail to comply with its requests, such as in areas such as health information, personal identification information, or health and fitness information.
Online retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have already faced penalties under the Obama administration for making online ordering easier or more convenient, such a change could help make online shopping more efficient and secure.
The rule also would make it harder to take down websites that violate the law.
“If an online retailer violates our orders, we will take legal action,” said David Yee, assistant secretary of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Administration, who announced the rule Thursday at a press conference at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
“And the penalty will be as severe as possible.”
The rule is a response to the Justice Department’s complaint against online service provider Amazon in November that charged that the company was violating the law by offering a service that allowed consumers to order products without having to go through a physical store.
The agency has been seeking to expand its authority to police online shopping by making it easier for online companies to get their products onto shelves.
The new rule is intended to “give consumers more choice and flexibility to shop online,” Yee said.
The Food &adoption Agency is taking another shot at online retailers.
In April, it proposed requiring online retailers like Amazon to verify consumers’ identity and address before they can sell a product.