As part of the FTC’s ongoing initiative to promote collaboration “among whitehat researchers, academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and regulators regarding the privacy and security implications of emerging technology,” its first-ever PrivacyCon will include presentations on research and trends in consumer privacy and data security, discussions about the interplay between regulators and technology, identification of challenges that emerging technology poses for business and consumers, and (one hopes) practical suggestions for addressing those challenges. See FTC PrivacyCon Announcement and Call for Presentations.

PrivacyCon is the latest example of the FTC’s efforts to obtain and integrate knowledge about current and emerging technology into its consumer protection activities, particularly with regard to privacy and data security. In addition to workshops and other collaborative activities, FTC undertakings include starting a Mobile Technology Unit that was incorporated into the recently announced Office of Technology Research and Investigation, hiring staff with technical expertise and experience, creating a visiting Chief Technologist position to obtain real-world technical expertise and policy guidance, establishing a presence at DEFCON, and beginning to use crowd-sourcing to address technology-related consumer protection challenges such as those posed by robocalls.