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The Federal Trade Commission has announced a call for research presentations on consumer privacy and security issues, with a particular focus on health applications (apps), for the agency’s fifth annual PrivacyCon, which will take place on July 21, 2020.

PrivacyCon 2020 will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government officials, to discuss the latest research and trends related to consumer privacy and data security.

While the FTC is seeking research presentations on any topic related to consumer privacy or data security, PrivacyCon 2020 will focus in particular on the privacy of health data collected, stored, and transmitted by mobile apps. Health apps can offer consumers important benefits, including the ability to easily access, organize, and analyze health data from medical records, devices such as blood pressure or heart rate monitors, and information provided by consumers themselves. The data practices of some apps, however, may also pose risks to the privacy and security of consumers’ health data.

The call for presentations seeks empirical research responding to several questions, including:

  • What are the risks to consumer data, particularly data held by health apps, and how does the risk vary by product and data type?
  • Which products are transmitting user data to third parties, who are the recipients, what is the data, and what are the apparent purposes for these transmissions?
  • Has empirical work assessed consumer perception of the privacy and security of products that handle sensitive information? What factors affect that perception?
  • What are the tradeoffs between product functionality and increased security or increased privacy protections?
  • Are there unique attributes or characteristics of apps that collect, store, or transmit health data that merit special attention or focus?

Information on how to submit a presentation can be found here. The deadline for submissions is April 10, 2020.

PrivacyCon, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Constitution Center, located at 400 7th St., SW, Washington, DC. The event will also be webcast on the FTC website and live tweeted using the hashtag #PrivacyCon2020. Registration is not required to attend this event.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

Juliana Gruenwald Henderson
Office of Public Affairs

Jamie Hine
Bureau of Consumer Protection

Elisa Jillson
Bureau of Consumer Protection