FTC Announces Agenda for Workshop Exploring Practices, Privacy Implications of Comprehensive Collection of Web Data

The FTC has announced a preliminary agenda for a program it calls “The Big Picture: Comprehensive Data Collection.”  This workshop “will explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive data collection.”

The program will be held in Washington, DC, on Dec. 6, 2012, and is free and open to the public.

The workshop will be webcast live and a link will be available on FTC.gov.  FTC staff will live-tweet the day-long event using the hashtag #FTCpriv from the agency’s @FTC account.

The preliminary program agenda is as follows:

  • 9:00-9:15am ET Opening Remarks:  Commissioner Julie Brill, Federal Trade Commission
  • 9:15-10:00am The Technological Landscape of Comprehensive Data Collection
    In this presentation, Professor Dan Wallach, Rice University, will explain the current technological means through which consumers’ online activities can be collected and the limits to that technology. He will explore which types of entities have the ability to collect data about consumers’ online activities in order to create comprehensive profiles. He will also describe current and possible future uses for such profiles.
  • 10:00-10:15am Break
  • 10:15am-12:00pm Benefits and Risks of Comprehensive Data Collection
  • This panel will explore both the benefits to consumers from the technologies that allow comprehensive data collection as well as the various privacy concerns associated with the ability to track all, or virtually all, of a consumer’s online activities. The panel will discuss the products and services these technologies create or enable; the types of information that can be collected and how that information is used; and the associated benefits and privacy risks.
  • 12:00-1:30pm Lunch
  • 1:30-1:45pm Remarks, Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen, Federal Trade Commission
  • 1:45-3:00pm Consumer Attitudes About and Choice with Respect to Comprehensive Data Collection
    This panel will examine consumer attitudes and knowledge about comprehensive data collection and the role of consumer choice and transparency. Panelists will discuss what consumers know about the comprehensive data collection that can or does occur; what consumers should be told about such collection; what choices consumers should have about such collection; and whether there are competitive alternatives in order to make choices meaningful.
  • 3:00-3:15pm Break
  • 3:15-4:30pm The Future of Comprehensive Data Collection
    This panel will focus on potential next steps for industry and policy makers in the area of comprehensive data collection. In particular, panelists will discuss what standards should apply to comprehensive data collection and whether the market can provide alternatives for consumers who wish to avoid such collection.
  • 4:30-4:45pm Closing Remarks

The workshop will be held at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

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