The Workshop on Informational Injury, examining questions about the injuries consumers suffer when information about them is misused, has been a huge success.
Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen provided opening remarks at the workshop. The event included panel discussions focused on the types of negative outcomes that can arise from data security and privacy incidents, the potential factors in assessing informational injury, and the methods and challenges in measuring informational injury. The workshop also included a discussion of how businesses and consumers evaluate the benefits, costs, and risks of information collection and sharing.
As the nation’s primary federal privacy and data security enforcement agency, the FTC has brought more than 500 privacy and data security-related cases, which have focused on deceptive and unfair business practices that cause or are likely to cause consumer injury.
The workshop addressed questions such as how to best characterize these injuries, how to accurately measure such injuries and their prevalence, and what factors businesses and consumers consider when evaluating the tradeoffs involved in collecting, using, or providing information while also potentially increasing their exposure to injuries.
“Information flows of all kinds are vital to our economy, but the increased collection and use of consumers’ information carries some risk for consumers when that information is misused,” said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “This workshop is aimed at helping us to better identify and measure the consumer injuries that may result from the misuse of information about consumers.”
To help assist the agency’s analysis of this topic, the FTC is seeking comment on a range of issues including:
What are the qualitatively different types of injuries from privacy and data security incidents?
What frameworks might we use to assess these different injuries? How do we quantify injuries?
How do businesses evaluate the benefits, costs, and risks of collecting and using consumer information in light of potential injuries? How do consumers evaluate the benefits, costs, and risks of sharing information in light of potential injuries?