Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that it will host a public workshop on April 28 to examine how debt collectors are using new technologies and how the use 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, according to the announcement.

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 announcement coincides with a spate of recent interest in the ARM industry’s use of social media, the most recent being an order from a judge enjoining a debt collection agency from further use of Facebook to contact a consumer that was suing the firm.

The FTC’s workshop will be held in Washington, DC and is open to the public. The agency is asking for public comment in advance of the workshop and is actively soliciting for panelists. More information can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/debtcollectiontech/index.shtml.

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