Office of Technology Research and Investigation

Graphic showing icons for computer, smart watch, car, home, mobile device and users connecting to a central internet hubThe Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTech)?is located at the intersection of consumer protection and new technologies. As a trusted source for research and information on technology’s impact on consumers, the Office conducts independent studies, evaluates new marketing practices, and provides guidance to consumers, businesses and policy makers. It also assists the FTC’s consumer protection investigators and attorneys by providing technical expertise, investigative assistance, and training. The Office is housed in the Bureau of Consumer Protection and its work supports all facets of the FTC’s consumer protection mission, including issues related to privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, fraud, big data, and the Internet of Things.

For additional technology-related content, please visit the [email protected] blog.?

Help protect consumers through research. The FTC welcomes researchers to inform us of their latest findings by emailing papers to [email protected]. Please note that the FTC does not offer compensation of any kind to research submitters and that submitted research may be made public by the FTC. If your research reveals a security vulnerability or otherwise contains information that could pose a risk of harm to the public, before submitting the research to the FTC, please contact Dan Salsburg, Chief Counsel and Acting Chief of OTech, at [email protected] or 202-326-3402.

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Nixing the Fix: Call for Research on Manufacturers’ Repair Restrictions

What do glue, non-standard machine screws, and proprietary diagnostic software have in common? They make it harder for consumers and independent repair shops to fix electronic devices and other consumer goods. On July 16, 2019, OTech and the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices will be holding a workshop on repair restrictions. In advance of the workshop, we’re calling on researchers to send us data and empirical research examining the prevalence and impact of repair restrictions. Research and data should be submitted by April 30, 2019, for it to be considered in the planning of the workshop.

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Guiding to Safety: How Technical Documentation Writers Can Encourage Software Security

This piece aims to assist writers of formal developer documentation, such as a detailed programming language reference or tutorials on programming for a platform. The Federal Trade Commission has more than twenty years of experience in protecting consumer privacy and security. For this piece, we consulted with experts on documentation for developers. Based on those discussions, we suggest ways that documentation writers can guide software developers toward more secure practices.

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Employment and Internships

If you are interested in an internship opportunity, please email [email protected]. Are you interested in developing tools that can be used to protect consumers from tech-centric scams or conducting cutting-edge technical research at the heart of the FTC’s consumer protection mission?? If so, watch this space for more information about OTech’s Summer internship program.? Past interns have studied the security of drones and IoT devices, the sharing of viewing information by Smart TVs, ads on social media, ransomware, and email

Last updated: 4/25/2018

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