FTC to hold privacy summit in January

FTC to hold privacy summit in January
© Thinkstock

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will hold a privacy-centered summit in January aimed at bringing technologists and policymakers together, Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said on Friday.

“Policymakers need to ensure that privacy is respected while innovation flourishes, and technology academics and researchers are crucial to hitting that sweet spot,” Ramirez said in an op-ed for Ars Technica, a website covering the tech industry.


The event, dubbed PrivacyCon, will feature presentations from researchers and panel discussions with both security experts and policymakers. In its call for presentations, the agency said it was looking to hear about research on a wide range of technologies, including connected cars, health and fitness devices and drones.

Ramirez said the FTC needed to make efforts to ensure its work “is informed by the best minds helping to drive the digital revolution.”

“We hear frequently from industry groups, consumer advocates, and government colleagues about policy issues,” she said. “We also hear from technologists, but not as much as we'd like — we need more of them to weigh in on these important issues.”

The consumer protection agency has been making efforts to reach out to security researchers. It has been a present at recent iterations of DEFCON, the security conference, where it has held phases of competitions to find ways to fight robocalls. Commissioner Terrell McSweeny and Ashkan Soltani, the agency’s chief technologist, also spoke at this year’s conference.

The agency says it hopes to make the January conference its own high-level venue for discussions of security and privacy.

“Our goal is to make PrivacyCon a premiere privacy research event that will help us advance our understanding of security and privacy issues for the digital age,” Ramirez said. “PrivacyCon is just one step on the road to creating a continuing dialogue with the technology and research community. After the close of the final conference session, this important conversation will continue.”