Policy Update: Obama Administration Seeks Input on Proposed Data Laws

Action Alert
The Administration is seeking public input about whether the U.S. should consider new consumer privacy laws to address concerns associated with “big data.” 

Background

  • The U.S. does not have a right of privacy law. Instead, broad consumer protection laws, created in the 1960s, give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) authority to act against companies that misuse consumer data.
  • In 2012 the Obama Administration proposed a new law, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, to regulate companies’ data practices. 
  • In May 2014 the Administration released a big data report that proposed modifying the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to account for new concerns associated with the rapidly growing data industry.
  • Now the Administration is asking for public input on the proposed new law and whether the growth of “big data” and the data industry should be regulated to protect consumers. 

Summary of the White House Request
The Department of Commerce request for comments lists 20 questions, but essentially asks:

  • Should legislation or regulation guide companies’ data practices in the modern data era? 
  • How should regulators balance the risks and rewards of companies’ ever-increasing data capabilities?
  • Should longstanding principles encouraging companies to limit data collection and retention be revised? Would data usage limitations effectively protect consumers? Would they harm the industry?

What’s next?
Public input is due August 5, 2014. The Apps Alliance plans to submit comments.

What can you do?
We encourage Alliance members to submit comments and/or provide input to the Alliance comments. 

If you are interested or would like more information, sign up using the form below.  

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Timeline
We will circulate a draft of Alliance comments on July 22 to those who sign up. We will need feedback by July 29, so we can file the comments by the August 5 deadline.

More information
“NTIA Leads Privacy Bill of Rights Review in Light of ‘Big Data’ Trend” Bloomberg BNA (June 5)
Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Fact Sheet
White House Big Data Report Fact Sheet