The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a public workshop entitled “Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?” in Washington, D.C. on September 15, 2014, to further explore the use of “big data” and its impact on American consumers, including low income and underserved consumers.    This is one in a series of workshops the FTC has held this year.

I will be a speaker on Panel 3: Surveying the Legal Landscape.  Our panel will  review various antidiscrimination and consumer protection laws and discuss how they may apply to the use of big data, and whether there may be gaps in the law.  Other panels will consider the current environment and uses of big data and how these uses impact consumers, benefits and harms of the uses of big data on particular populations of consumers, and best practices for the use of big data to protect consumers.  The FTC’s goal with this workshop is to address the following issues:

  • “How are organizations using big data to categorize consumers?
  • What benefits do consumers gain from these practices? Do these practices raise consumer protection concerns?
  • What benefits do organizations gain from these practices? What are the social and economic impacts, both positive and negative, from the use of big data to categorize consumers?
  • How do existing laws apply to such practices?
  • Are there gaps in the legal framework? Are companies appropriately assessing the impact of big data practices on low income and underserved populations? Should additional measures be considered?”

The workshop is free and the day is filled with interesting panels.  Click here to view the agenda.