Tech@FTC

Save the world

The Federal Trade Commission is launching a new program, Summer Research Fellowships in Technology and Data Governance. Spend your summer exploring ways to design, create, assess, and analyze technology at its intersection with business, society and policy. This 10-week program gives students hands on experience with work relevant to the FTC by assisting the FTC's Chief Technologist and others with real-work exploratory projects of interest to the FTC.

Transparency establishes trust

We are amidst an era of open data –a period in which we share details of our personal lives widely in exchange for all kinds of services, often trusting companies with our most intimate facts. Sharing information about our personal lives has fostered technological innovations and influenced more transparency in government (e.g., [1,2]) and in science (e.g., [3,4]). However, once personal data are acquired, it may be shared with others without consumer awareness. So how might we add transparency to data sharing? The goal of this blog is to spark discussion and debate.

Mobile design 2.0

Children can perform amazing feats using iPhones and iPads, but an Apple business practice may unfairly bill parents. In January, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Apple Inc, in which the company agreed to provide full refunds to consumers, paying a minimum of $32.5 million, to settle a FTC complaint that the company billed consumers for millions of dollars of charges incurred by children in mobile apps without consent [1]. The Complaint [2] and statements from FTC Commissioners [3,4,5] alone provide FTC's position on the case.

My phone at your service

Anyone can setup wireless sensors to record the appearance of your mobile phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth probes to track where you are and where you have been –say, where you are when you're ambling through store or mall, or when you're walking or driving down a street. Some retail stores are experimenting with this technology to track your whereabouts, so FTC held a public hearing on the topic on February 19, 2014. Consumers and retailers already engage in loyalty programs. Should mobile phone tracking be part of loyalty programs?

Hello world!

Hello World!  I am the new Chief Technologist at the Federal Trade Commission, continuing the blog steps of my predecessors.  I am grateful for the service of Ed Felten and Steve Bellovin. With the office developments they have left behind, I am able to blaze a new trail forward.