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On June 18, 2003, the Federal Trade Commission will host a day-long public workshop to examine the costs and benefits to consumers and businesses of the collection and use of consumer information.

In order to facilitate closer examination of the issues, the workshop will focus on the collection and use of consumer information for particular commercial purposes in the context of two or three case studies. In addition the workshop will inquire into the possible methodologies for further measuring and analyzing the costs and benefits to consumers of these information practices.

"The responsible management of consumer data and information systems is vital to our economy, and increasing our understanding of the costs and benefits of various information practices will benefit consumers," said FTC Chairman Timothy J. Muris.

Some of the issues to be addressed at the workshop include: How do businesses collect and aggregate consumer information? How do businesses use consumer information in their operations? What types of consumer information do businesses use? What are the costs and benefits to consumers of the use of this type of information by businesses? What are businesses doing to reduce the costs and increase the benefits to consumers of this information collection and use? This list is not exhaustive, and consumers who have suggestions about additional topics to be addressed are encouraged to send them via e-mail to:

Individuals wishing to participate as panelists at the public workshop should submit a written request to the Commission on or before May 9, 2002. Requests should be addressed to Donald S. Clark, Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580 or via e-mail at: The request should contain a detailed statement describing the individual's expertise in, or knowledge of, the issues to be discussed at the workshop and their contact information. The specific criteria the FTC used to select workshop panelists are described in the Federal Register notice.

Whether or not individuals choose to participate in the workshop, they may submit written comments in response to any of the topics to be addressed. The Federal Register notice, which will be published shortly, also contains information on how such comments, which must be received by the last session of the workshop, should be filed.

Additional information about the public workshop can be obtained from Maureen Ohlhausen, FTC Office of Policy Planning, by calling 202-326-2632 or via e-mail at: A detailed agenda for the workshop will be available shortly on the Commission's Web site at  and through Mildred Taylor, Office of Policy Planning staff secretary, by calling 202-326-2553.

The Commission vote authorizing publication of the Federal Register notice announcing the public workshop was 4-1, with Commissioner Sheila Anthony voting in the negative.

(FTC File No. P034102)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Mitchell J. Katz,
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Maureen Ohlhausen,
Office of Policy Planning