Information about consumers has become a key input to innovative products and services. However consumers may suffer injury when information about them is misused. The Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop on December 12, 2017, to examine consumer injury in the context of privacy and data security. The workshop featured opening remarks by Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen and brought together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, academics, and government researchers, to discuss various issues related to the injuries consumers suffer when information about them is misused.
Panelists discussed questions such as how to best characterize these injuries, how to accurately measure such injuries and their prevalence, and what factors businesses and consumers consider when evaluating the tradeoffs between providing information and potentially increasing their exposure to injuries.
The FTC invites comments from the public on the topics covered in the workshop. Topics of interest include the following:
- What are the qualitatively different types of injuries from privacy and data security incidents? What are some real life examples of these types of informational injury to consumers and to businesses?
- What frameworks might we use to assess these different injuries? How do we quantify injuries? How might frameworks treat past, current, and potential future outcomes in quantifying injury? How might frameworks differ for different types of injury?
- How do businesses evaluate the benefits, costs, and risks of collecting and using information in light of potential injuries? How do they make tradeoffs? How do they assess the risks of different kinds of data breach? What market and legal incentives do they face, and how do these incentives affect their decisions?
- How do consumers perceive and evaluate the benefits, costs, and risks of sharing information in light of potential injuries? What obstacles do they face in conducting such an evaluation? How do they evaluate tradeoffs?
You can find a full list of questions and information about how to submit comments in the detailed public notice about the workshop. The deadline for submitting comments is January 26, 2018.
The workshop, which was free and open to the public, was held at the FTC’s Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC.