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The Federal Trade Commission announced a preliminary agenda for The Big Picture: Comprehensive Data Collection, a workshop that will explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive data collection.  The workshop will be held in Washington, DC, on Dec. 6, 2012, and is free and open to the public.

Consumer protection organizations, academics, business and industry representatives, privacy professionals, and others will examine the technological landscape, benefits and risks, consumer knowledge and attitude, and the future of comprehensive data collection.

Webcast and Online Participation
The workshop will be webcast live and a link will be available on FTC staff will live-tweet the day-long event using the hashtag #FTCpriv from the agency’s @FTC account.  If you watch the webcast and want to ask panelists questions, tweet them with the hashtag or post them to the FTC’s Facebook page, or email them to

9:00-9:15am ET Opening Remarks
Commissioner Julie Brill
Federal Trade Commission
9:15-10:00am The Technological Landscape of Comprehensive Data Collection
In this presentation, Professor Dan Wallach, Rice University, will explain the current technological means through which consumers’ online activities can be collected and the limits to that technology. He will explore which types of entities have the ability to collect data about consumers’ online activities in order to create comprehensive profiles. He will also describe current and possible future uses for such profiles.
10:00-10:15am Break
10:15am-12:00pm Benefits and Risks of Comprehensive Data Collection
This panel will explore both the benefits to consumers from the technologies that allow comprehensive data collection as well as the various privacy concerns associated with the ability to track all, or virtually all, of a consumer’s online activities. The panel will discuss the products and services these technologies create or enable; the types of information that can be collected and how that information is used; and the associated benefits and privacy risks.
12:00-1:30pm Lunch
1:30-1:45pm Remarks
Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen
Federal Trade Commission
1:45-3:00pm Consumer Attitudes About and Choice with Respect to Comprehensive Data Collection
This panel will examine consumer attitudes and knowledge about comprehensive data collection and the role of consumer choice and transparency. Panelists will discuss what consumers know about the comprehensive data collection that can or does occur; what consumers should be told about such collection; what choices consumers should have about such collection; and whether there are competitive alternatives in order to make choices meaningful.
3:00-3:15pm Break
3:15-4:30pm The Future of Comprehensive Data Collection
This panel will focus on potential next steps for industry and policy makers in the area of comprehensive data collection. In particular, panelists will discuss what standards should apply to comprehensive data collection and whether the market can provide alternatives for consumers who wish to avoid such collection.
4:30-4:45pm Closing Remarks

The workshop will be held at the FTC's satellite building conference center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted via email to or by calling Samantha Konstandt at 202-326-3348.  Requests should be made in advance.  Please include a detailed description of the accommodation needed, and provide contact information.

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Contact Information

Cheryl Hackley
Office of Public Affairs

David Lincicum
Bureau of Consumer Protection