New Workshop on Technology and Consumer Protection


Joseph Calandrino

Earlier this year, I joined the FTC as the Research Director of our Office of Technology Research and Investigation. As a computer science PhD, the opportunity to conduct research relevant to consumer protection has been an immensely satisfying experience, so I wanted to share an opportunity for other computer scientists to do the same. Along with our Chief Technologist Lorrie Cranor and several others at the FTC, I will be participating in the Workshop on Technology and Consumer Protection (ConPro ’17), a new computer science research workshop to be co-located with the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (Oakland) in May 2017.

As the workshop’s description says, the forum “will explore computer science topics with an impact on consumers.” Research in these areas can promote consumer welfare and inform relevant policy. It may offer insight into emerging technologies and their impact on consumers. Where risks to consumers exist, research can yield innovative approaches for addressing those risks. As a result, such research can advance the FTC’s consumer protection mission and make a positive difference in the lives of consumers.

The workshop’s program committee represents a wide range of computer science disciplines—from security, privacy, and e-crime to usability and algorithmic fairness—and touches on fields across the social sciences.  The call for papers discusses relevant topics, and anyone conducting research in these areas can submit their work by the January 10 deadline.  My personal hope is that this workshop will provide a venue for exciting computer science research with a meaningful impact well beyond our field.