FTC Privacy Week -- June 10-13

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Consumer privacy issues will be the focus of a Federal Trade Commission public workshop beginning June 10. Workshop participants will examine issues affecting privacy, including the online collection of information from children as well as "look-up services" -- computer databases that collect identifying information about consumers. The workshop will gather data for the Congressionally requested database study being conducted by the FTC and will examine industry's response to the growing concern about personal privacy in the new online marketplace. Participants at the week long workshop will represent a broad range of interests.

New surveys, proposals, and industry policies are expected to be announced during the week. The workshop agenda is attached.

June 10 (9:00am-6:00pm)

Session One of the workshop will explore issues relating to computer databases containing identifying information about consumers. Participants will demonstrate databases operating via closed computer networks as well as the Internet; identify the types and sources of information contained in these databases; and discuss the benefits and risks associated with use of the databases as well as proposed models for responding to such risks.

June 11 (8:45am-6:15pm)

Session Two will examine consumers' concerns about online privacy, current industry self-regulatory initiatives and technological tools, and information practices on the World Wide Web. A leading corporate executive will discuss his firm's response to consumer privacy concerns.

June 12 (8:45am-12:30pm)

Panels will focus on the costs and benefits of unsolicited commercial e-mail to consumers, industry and the Internet and on responses to this practice.

June 12 (2:00pm-5:30am)
June 13 (9:45am-4:15pm)

Session Three will examine special concerns surrounding children's privacy in the online marketplace. Surveys of parents' and children's attitudes regarding the collection of information from children will be announced. Panels will review current information practices; examine the potential for injury to children by online predators; discuss commercial Web sites' privacy practices; explore technological tools for protecting children online; and assess self-regulatory efforts.

The FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection has been examining consumer privacy in the online context and promoting consumer and business education about the use of personal information online. Last June the FTC convened a workshop to address privacy issues posed by the emerging online marketplace and online protections for consumer privacy. A staff report, titled "Public Workshop on Consumer Privacy on the Global Information Infrastructure," summarizes the participants' views.

Interested parties who applied for participation in this year's workshop submitted written comments in response to a March 6, 1997 Federal Register Notice. Comments are available on the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC's Public Reference Branch. In an effort to create a complete and balanced record, staff added some panelists who did not submit written comments. The workshop is free and open to the public. Seating is unreserved but limited.

Copies of the agenda for Privacy Week, the Federal Register notice and the written comments, the December 1996 FTC staff report and transcripts of the June 1996 workshop are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov (no period). FTC documents also are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room, 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC's NewsPhone recording at 202-326-3710

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Victoria Streitfeld or Claudia Bourne Farrell
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2718 or 326-2181
Staff Contact:
David Medine
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Lee Peeler
Bureau of Consumer Protection