FTC Announces Agenda for the Sixth Session of Its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

November 6-8 hearing at American University Washington College of Law will address the intersection of big data, privacy, and competition

The Federal Trade Commission announced the agenda for the sixth session of its Hearings initiative, with two and a half days of sessions on November 6–8, 2018, to be held at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.

The hearings at American University will examine the role that data plays in competition and innovation, and also will consider the antitrust analysis of mergers and firm conduct where data is a key asset or product. See detailed agenda.

The Commission invites public comment on these issues, including the questions listed below. Comments can be submitted online. Comments are due January 7, 2018. If any entity has provided funding for research, analysis, or commentary that is included in a submitted public comment, such funding and its source should be identified on the first page of any submitted comment.

  1. What is “big data”? Is there an important technical or policy distinction to be drawn between data and big data?
  2. How have developments involving data – including data resources, analytic tools, technology, and business models – changed the understanding and use of personal or commercial information or sensitive data?
  3. Does the importance of data – or large, complex data sets comprising personal or commercial information – in a firm’s ordinary course operations change how the FTC should analyze mergers or firm conduct? If so, how? Does data differ in importance from other assets in assessing firm or industry conduct?
  4. What structural, behavioral, or conduct remedies should the FTC consider when remedying antitrust harm in a market or industry where data or personal or commercial information are a significant product or a key competitive input?
  5. Are there policy recommendations that would facilitate competition in markets involving data or personal or commercial information that the FTC should consider?
  6. Does the presence of personal information or privacy concerns inform or change competition analysis?
  7. Do state, federal, and international privacy laws and regulations affect competition, innovation, and product offerings in the United States and abroad? If so, how?

Additional sessions of the FTC Hearings initiative will be held throughout the fall and early winter. The following hearings have been announced and are upcoming:

November 1, 2018
Georgetown University Law Center’s Hart Auditorium

  • Vertical Merger Analysis and the Consumer Welfare Standard

November 13-14, 2018
Howard University School of Law

  • Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

December 11-12, 2018
FTC Constitution Center Auditorium

  • Data Security

February 12-13, 2018
FTC Constitution Center Auditorium

  • Privacy

The FTC Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Request for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at ekraszewski@ftc.gov or by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. Please allow at least five days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

Hearing #6 on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century
November 6–8, 2018
American University Washington College of Law
4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016
(Note: This venue is a short walk from the Tenleytown/AU Metro Station)

The Federal Trade Commission develops policy initiatives on issues that affect competition, consumers, and the U.S. economy. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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