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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that its third annual PrivacyCon will take place in Washington, D.C., on February 28, 2018.  The conference will bring together researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government representatives to explore an array of consumer privacy and data security issues, with a particular focus on emerging technologies, such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, in line with other recent public statements, said she wants the conference to draw attention to research on how the economics of privacy are implicated in the larger discussion about privacy:

“Deepening the FTC’s understanding of the economics of privacy and consumer harm in the context of information exposure is integral to the FTC’s enforcement and educational efforts. I have made studying the economics of privacy a centerpiece of my consumer protection agenda, and I hope that PrivacyCon 2018 will highlight important research in this area.”

The call for presentations asks for research into a wide array of issues, including:

  • Privacy and security risks associated with emerging technologies and threats to consumer privacy, such as phishing, business email account takeovers, unpatched software, Internet of Things vulnerabilities, ransomware, distributed denial of service attacks, and identify theft.
  • Quantifying the costs and benefits of privacy from consumer and business perspectives.
  • Incentives for manufacturers and software developers to implement privacy and security by design.
  • Market failures in the area of privacy and data security, and available tools for overcoming or mitigating such failures.
  • What interventions would most appropriately address any consumer injury resulting from market failures (e.g., ex ante regulation vs, ex post enforcement).

Despite the fast pace of technological change, the FTC has announced the upcoming workshop well in advance; the deadline for submissions for PrivacyCon is November 17, 2017.