Attention whitehats, The FTC wants you to lead new privacy, security push

The Federal Trade Commission will in January hold a wide-ranging conference on security and privacy issues lead by all manner of whitehat security researchers and academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates.

The FTC’s PrivacyCon will include brief privacy and security research presentations, along with expert panel discussions on the latest privacy and security challenges facing consumers. Whitehat researchers and academics will discuss the latest security vulnerabilities, explain how they can be exploited to harm consumers, and highlight research affecting consumer privacy and data security. During panel discussions, participants will discuss the research presentations and the latest policy initiatives to address consumer privacy and security, develop suggestions for further collaboration between researchers and policymakers, and highlight steps that companies and consumers can and should take to protect themselves and their data, the FTC stated.

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“Due to the unique role that whitehat researchers, academics, and information security specialists have played in raising awareness about privacy and data security issues, the FTC is particularly interested in enlisting their participation in this effort. For the past several years, their work to strengthen privacy and security protections in this country has greatly benefitted the FTC and the public. For example, the FTC’s reports on the privacy implications of facial recognition technology and the Internet of Things have referred to important academic research,” the FTC stated.

The FTC is seeking presentations on consumer privacy and security issues from a number of different arenas including:

The PrivacyCon conference will be held in Washington, DC on January 14. For more information go here.

Such conferences have lead to a number of successful campaigns for the FTC in the past. Earlier this year the FTC issued a report on privacy and the Internet of Things that came from a he report is partly based on input from leading technologists and academics, industry representatives, consumer advocates and others who participated in the FTC’s Internet of Things workshop held in Washington D.C.

From that report: The sheer volume of data that even a small number of devices can generate is stunning: one participant in the workshop indicated that fewer than 10,000 households using the company’s IoT home-automation product can “generate 150 million discrete data points a day” or approximately one data point every six seconds for each household, the report states.

“The only way for the Internet of Things to reach its full potential for innovation is with the trust of American consumers,” the FTC stated. “We believe that by adopting the best practices we’ve laid out, businesses will be better able to provide consumers the protections they want and allow the benefits of the Internet of Things to be fully realized.”

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Michael Cooney

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