Earlier this week the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced the formation of the Office of Technology Research and Investigation within its Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The office will succeed the Mobile Technology Unit but, unlike its predecessor, will look beyond the technology surrounding just mobile devices. As the agency’s Chief Technologist explained, the new office will focus on “investigative research on technology issues involving all facets of the FTC’s consumer protection mission, including privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and the Internet of Things.”
The FTC has been increasingly focused on privacy issues surrounding the Internet of Things, andreleased a report earlier this year recommending steps that businesses can take to ensure consumers’ privacy and security as Internet-connected devices become increasingly commonplace.
With this new office, the FTC is reinforcing its current role as the federal regulator of privacy and cybersecurity, even in the face of a legal challenge to that authority.