On April 28, 2011, the Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop to examine how debt collectors are using new technologies and how this affects consumers. The workshop, titled “Debt Collection 2.0: Protecting Consumers as Technologies Change,” will feature consumer advocates, industry representatives, technologists, academics, and government officials.
As noted in the FTC’s Federal Register notice, these new technologies available to debt collectors include mobile telephones, e-mail, social media, information gathering tools, and the software platforms that collectors use, such as dialers, databases, and payment portals. The discussion will focus on how collectors use these technologies, consumer protection concerns that arise, and how policymakers should respond to those concerns.
The workshop is free and open to the public and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the FTC’s Satellite Building Conference Center, 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Those who attend must present government-issued photo identification. More information, including an agenda and panelist biographies, will be posted on the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/debtcollectiontech/index.shtml.
The FTC will identify and invite persons with relevant expertise to serve as panelists. Those who would like to be panelists should submit a request in response to the Federal Register notice. Requests should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and must be received on or before 5 p.m. EST, Tuesday, March 22, 2011.
Interested parties are welcomed to submit relevant written comments or data, which will be placed on the public record. The Commission strongly encourages submissions in electronic format. Comments in electronic form should be submitted by using the following Web link: https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/debtcollecttechworkshop (and following the instructions on the Web-based form). Please consult the Federal Register notice for further information, including details on topics to be covered and instructions for submitting comments. To be considered in preparation for the workshop, comments must be received by April 7, 2011, although the Commission will accept comments through May 27, 2011.