FTC to Host Workshop Exploring Privacy Implications of Comprehensive Collection of Internet Users’ Data


The Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) announced on October 15, 2012, that it will hold a workshop on December 6, 2012, in Washington, DC, to explore the practices and privacy implications of comprehensive collection of Internet users’ data. The workshop will be free and open to the public. Individuals and organizations may submit requests to participate as panelists and recommend topics for inclusion on the agenda no later than November 2, 2012.

The announcement follows a promise that the FTC made in its March 2012 Privacy Report to hold a workshop dedicated to the issues raised by entities that have the ability to collect data about computer users across the Internet, without necessarily having a direct interaction with them. According to the FTC’s October 15 press release announcing the workshop, such entities could include ISPs, operating systems, browsers, search engines, social media, and mobile carriers. Some or all of these entities, according to the Commission, may have access to large amounts of consumer data and therefore be in a position to develop detailed and comprehensive profiles—and to do so in a way that may be invisible to consumers.

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