The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced formation of its Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI), an office meant to “ensure that consumers enjoy the benefits of technological progress without being placed at risk of deceptive and unfair practices.” The office is meant to expand the scope of work previously conducted by the FTC’S Mobile Technology Unit. The now-defunct Mobile Technology Unit promoted consumer protection in the mobile environment. In its tenure, the unit released a number of reports, including The Kids App Privacy Reports and the Mobile Shopping Report.
Instead of focusing specifically on mobile technologies, the new OTRI will investigate technology issues related to “privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and the Internet of Things,” as reported in a press release issued by the FTC.
The FTC also announced the creation of several jobs associated with the OTRI, including a technology policy research fellowship, a research coordinator, and technology research internships. Additionally, the FTC noted that its blog, Tech@FTC—previously only written by the FTC’s Chief Technologist—would likely expand to include a wider array of topics and new bloggers.