FTC Announces Sessions on Consumer Privacy and Data Security As Part of its Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century

As part of its Hearings Initiative, the Federal Trade Commission will hold four days of hearings in December and February to examine the FTC’s authority to deter unfair and deceptive conduct in data security and privacy matters.

The December hearings will focus on data security and will take place December 11-12, 2018 at the FTC Constitution Center Auditorium, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC. The hearings on consumer privacy will take place in the same venue on February 12-13, 2019.

The data security hearings will include five panel discussions and additional discussion of research related to data breaches and data security threats. The first day’s panel discussions will examine incentives to invest in data security and consumer demand for data security. Discussions on the second day will focus on data security assessments, the U.S. framework related to consumer data security, and the FTC’s data security enforcement program.

The FTC hearings on consumer privacy will provide the first comprehensive re-examination of the FTC’s approach to consumer privacy since 2012.

“The FTC has a long record of protecting consumers’ privacy interests through enforcement, education, and policy work,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “The upcoming data security and privacy hearings will provide an opportunity to reexamine the Commission’s work in light of changing technologies, legal regimes, and business models.”

Staff has already begun developing the agenda for the December data security hearing. The FTC is seeking comments from the public on what the agenda for the two-day consumer privacy hearing should include. To be included for consideration, the FTC is seeking comment by December 21 on specific questions to be discussed at the February event.

In addition, FTC staff welcomes comments on both the data security and privacy hearings until March 13, 2019. 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.

The FTC will release agendas for the data security and privacy hearings closer to the dates of the hearings.

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

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

  • Vertical Merger Analysis and the Consumer Welfare Standard

November 6-8, 2018
American University Washington College of Law

  • Big Data, Privacy, and Competition

November 13-14, 2018
Howard University School of Law

  • Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, and Predictive Analytics

The events are part of an ongoing initiative examining whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection enforcement priorities of the Commission. These public events, in conjunction with the public comment process, will provide the FTC with a broad and diverse range of viewpoints and stimulate evaluation of key enforcement and policy issues.

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.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). 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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