It took a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia only three days to consider both sides’ arguments in EPIC v. FTC and rule, this afternoon, in favor of the Federal Trade Commission. The court ruled on EPIC’s quixotic effort to force the FTC to embrace EPIC’s viewpoint on whether Google’s forthcoming online privacy policy changes violate a 2011 settlement between Google and FTC. EPIC believes the privacy policy changes do violate the agreement and, as spelled out in a previous Legal Pulse post, felt FTC had a non-discretionary duty to sanction Google.

The Legal Pulse post argued the federal courts cannot review FTC’s decision-making on whether or not to enforce a consent order. Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the applicable law and precedents dictated that same conclusion. She rejected EPIC’s overly liberal interpretation of the Federal Trade Commission Act that FTC had an absolute duty to enforce a settlement agreement, and upheld FTC’s authority to decide when to utilize its enforcement power.

Judge Jackson also noted in a footnote that even if EPIC’s viewpoint on the FTC Act and the Administrative Procedures Act was correct, their challenge wasn’t ripe for review, as EPIC had not asked FTC to enforce the agreement, and FTC had not yet concluded its review of Google’s new privacy policy.

No word yet on whether EPIC will appeal to the D.C. Circuit. For the sake of FTC’s conserving its taxpayer resources for its actual mission, let’s hope they don’t.