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Editor’s Note: “Inside the Session” is a sneak preview of the privacy and information security-related sessions that will take place at the 59th Antitrust Law Spring Meeting. For more information on the conference, visit the ABA’s page on the event.
The Chair’s Showcase on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the Web 3.0 World” promises to be a fast-paced and exciting event. Two separate panels will explore the nexus between privacy and competition, highlighting cutting-edge technology as well as legal and social policy issues. The Secure Times recently spoke with Tara Koslov, who will serve as co-moderator of the technology panel. Tara has been with the Federal Trade Commission for 14 years, and is currently the Deputy Director of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning. Tara also serves as Editorial Co-Chair of the Antitrust Law Journal. She gave us a sneak preview of what to expect from the session on Thursday, March 31st, from 10am-12pm.
Secure Times: What makes the Chair’s Showcase so unique this year?
Tara Koslov: The Chair’s Showcase is so unique this year because it embodies one of Section Chair Allan Van Fleet’s platform issues: The intersection of competition and consumer protection as dual means to promote consumer welfare, especially in the new information-age markets that are heavily driven by consumer data. Specifically, our panelists will discuss the idea of privacy as a dimension of competition—an idea that should resonate with everyone in the audience, not just as lawyers and economists but also as consumers ourselves. Rather than launch straight into a legal and policy discussion, we’ll begin the program with demonstrations of actual privacy technologies that firms are using to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. These concrete, real-world examples will inform and animate the second panel, which will feature a stellar group of thought leaders from the United States and abroad.
One emerging technology that protects consumer privacy is the “do not track” feature on several web browsers. Are there similar technological developments?
Tara Koslov: In short, yes. The session will also feature several other technology demonstrations. Representatives of both well known and start-up firms will use these demonstrations to show several innovative products and features intended to give consumers greater variety and choice in privacy protection.
Will we hear about the concept of “privacy by design” and how it may create a competitive advantage for businesses?
Tara Koslov: We’re honored to have FTC Commissioner Julie Brill as our lead-off speaker, and her comments no doubt will provide an excellent framework for thinking about privacy issues. Among other topics, I expect she will highlight the privacy-by-design recommendations in the recent FTC staff report. We are also excited that the technology panel will feature Ken Anderson, Assistant Commissioner of Ontario’s Office of the Privacy and Information Commissioner, the organization that is credited with pioneering the privacy-by-design concept.
Are there other major issues that you anticipate the panel will discuss?
Tara Koslov: I expect one big-picture theme will be the goal of balancing innovation and economic growth with privacy protection, and the appropriate role for regulation in striking the right balance. I expect our panelists also will discuss the economic value of consumer data in markets driven by behavioral advertising, and whether these data ever comprise their own relevant market for purposes of antitrust analysis.
What key points will an audience member learn by attending the session?
Tara Koslov: I hope all attendees will leave the session convinced—as I am—that privacy is an important dimension of competition, and therefore should be viewed through both competition and consumer protection lenses. The more informed we are as consumers, the more motivated we will be to contemplate and exercise our privacy choices, and the market no doubt will respond with products and services that meet a broad range of consumer expectations.
Session Information: Chair’s Showcase Session: Competition and Consumer Protection in the Web 3.0 World, 10:00 am–12:00 pm
Allan Van Fleet, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Houston, TX
Panel 1: Technology and Privacy Issues
Description: Privacy is a means to compete, but user information is part of many Web businesses’ revenue. The panel will address “Privacy by Design” (building privacy into technology from the start) and consumer protection as a dimension of competition policy, demonstrating current technology innovations using privacy as a competitive differentiator.
- Matthew J. Bye, Competition Counsel, Google, Mountain View, CA
- Tara Koslov, Deputy Director of the FTC’s Office of Policy Planning, FTC, Washington, DC
- Katherine Albrecht, U.S. Media Relations, Startpage by Ixquick, Nashua, NH
- Ken Anderson, Assistant Commissioner, Office of the Privacy and Information Commissioner, Ontario, Canada
- The Honorable Julie S. Brill, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC
- Scott Taylor, Chief Privacy Officer, Hewlett Packard, Palo Alto, CA
- Jonathan McPhie, Product Manager, Google, Mountain View, CA
Panel 2: Legal and Social Policy Issues
Description: This panel will explore the Section 2 and international antitrust ramifications of internet related markets driven by troves of personal data, the potential for privacy to be included as a non-price dimension of competition analysis, and the nexus between competition and privacy.
- Pamela Jones Harbour, Fulbright & Jaworski LLP, Washington, DC
- Stephen Kinsella, Sidley & Austin, Brussels, Belgium
- Bruno Lasserre, President, French Competition Council, Paris, France
- Timothy J. Muris, Washington, DC
- Pamela Passman, Vice President Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
- Carl Shapiro, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Economics, U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, DC