If you happened to be at the Black Hat DefCON conference this week in Las Vegas, you might have been surprised to see two major players from the Federal Trade Commission hanging around. Don’t worry though, they aren’t looking to bust anyone (not today anyway). FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny and Chief Technologist Ashkan Soltani were there seeking the help of some of the world’s best hackers and security researchers who would be in attendance.
The FTC is well aware of the fact that it is virtually impossible to stay ahead of the game when it comes to the complicated digital world, which is why they regularly reach out to outside people to get valuable insights. While at the conference, McSweeny did an interview with The Washington Post and provided some valuable insights about the FTC and how they interact with the digital world (including digital marketing). Below are some of the most essential points from the interview. To see the full interview, follow the link at the end of this post to visit the Washington Post page where it was published.
When asked specifically why the FTC was at the event he replied saying, “We’re also here talking to the security researcher community because the FTC is really on the front lines of trying to protect consumers’ data security and privacy – and we find it incredibly beneficial to have direct communication with the folks in this community who help us understand how technology is working and how it’s impacting people.”
Another question asked was about whether or not the FTC is planning on doing additional enforcement in the tech space. To this McSweeny replied saying, “I don’t know that I would characterize it as more enforcement so much I would say we’re going to continue to protect consumers wherever they are. And we’ve made this massive transition to the mobile ecosystem. Even 10 years ago, people really didn’t have apps or smartphones and now we have advertising cases involving the marketing of apps and we have mobile payment systems that are we’re looking at very carefully. We try to adapt to protect consumers.”
When asked about what he was learning about cyber security and the community’s view of the FTC he talked about the fact that it is an ongoing relationship. The FTC is regularly attempting to engage with the hacker/cyber security community. He mentioned that, “…we share a very similar inclination, at least in the White Hat context here, to protect consumers and make sure that as customers are using more and more technology – which is terrific, we love that it can improve consumers lives – that they’re getting correct information about how their information is being used and how it’s secured.”
All in all the interview was quite informative and well worth the read for anyone working with digital marketing, cyber security or online in general. Keeping up to date with what the FTC is doing is always going to be beneficial to your business since they have the potential to play such an important role in it.
You can read the full interview HERE.