According to CEO Jules Polonetsky, lawmakers will get an inside look at FPF’s Tech Lab and will have the opportunity to handle, use and learn about some of the products impacted by their policies. Attendees will include the chief privacy officers from most of the major carriers and government privacy officials from the FTC and FCC and international privacy regulators, Polonetsky said.
“We find that policymakers, advocates, academics, and others who comment often on new technologies only know about these technologies by reading stories about how these technologies can be used,” Polonetsky explained. “But we’ve always found that you need to touch it and see it and play around with it and understand it before you can really make rules around how it works.”
For example, Polonetsky said the FPF was taken aback by the media storm that was kicked up by “spying” allegations against the Samsung Smart TV and Hello Barbie. Through their sampling of the products, Polonetsky said, the FPF already knew that very specific actions had to be taken to enable the listening capabilities of each.
Polonetsky said a big problem arises when this kind of misinformation seeps into policy decisions.
“We find that policymakers can have a hard time understanding the difference between facial detection and facial recognition,” Polonetsky said. “But those are very different things with different implications for policy and privacy. The distinction between is incredibly important from a privacy point of view.”
During the event, Polonetsky said legislators and privacy executives will have a chance to sample a wide range of toys and devices, including the Samsung Smart TV, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, the Euclid device tracker and analytics solution, beacons, Hello Barbie, and Amazon Echo, among others.
In particular, Polonetsky said, the event will focus on the data collection and transmission aspects of each product rather than the gadgets themselves.
The goal of the hands-on experience, Polonetsky said, is to educate lawmakers and privacy professionals so they can make better decisions when it comes to privacy.
“They’ll be more informed and they’ll make smarter decisions,” Polonetsky said. “The smarter people are about how this stuff really works, the better policy decisions they’ll be making. If you do this in a vacuum, you can be out of sync for what can actually be useful for consumers.”
While the open house will be held Monday only, Polonetsky said the Tech Lab is available to policymakers during numerous other events throughout the year.
Filed Under: Industry regulations