For those of us that have worked in highly regulated industries, consent decrees are not a new concept. However, in the tech industry, many companies are beginning to understand the power of this regulatory weapon. Last week the FTC slapped a consent decree on Uber for its flawed privacy practices that led to the disclosure of private information for 100,000 Uber drivers. The FTC cannot fine a company for its first violation, so many viewed the consent decree as a slap on the wrist for a serious violation. Perhaps they should have been fined, but let's parse the effect of that consent decree for a moment to see what it really means.