SIIA Welcomes Administration’s Privacy and Big Data Report; Says Current Regulatory Framework Can Respond to Potential Problems

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SIIA today responded to the release of the Administration’s Report on Privacy and Big Data.  SIIA welcomed the report’s assessment that big data provides substantial public benefits and will provide more benefits in the future.  The organization believes the current regulations are adequate to address potential concerns.

As the report recognizes, the collection and analysis of data is leading to better consumer products and services and innovations in healthcare, education, energy, and the delivery of government benefits.  SIIA member companies are driving this innovation by leading the development of techniques for analyzing big data, while also working to safeguard personal data.  We will continue to work with the Administration to promote the responsible use of data to drive innovation, job-creation and economic growth.

The Administration’s work to examine discrimination concerns is extremely important.  It is our view that current law works.  Vigilantly enforced consumer protection and antidiscrimination laws are strong and flexible enough to prevent unfair practices.  Industry efforts are also safeguarding data privacy and preventing discriminatory practices.  Burdensome new legal requirements would only impede data-driven innovation and hurt the ability of U.S. companies to create jobs and drive economic growth.

As recently as three weeks ago the Federal Trade Commission used existing authority under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to bring cases against companies that used data in ways that violated the Act’s consumer protection provisions. Other possible unfair or discriminatory practices in the use of data may already be regulated under other statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008.

In addition, SIIA is delighted that the report recognized the need to reform the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). As users increasingly store email and other communications remotely, it is critical to reform ECPA to establish a warrant requirement for access to these communications, regardless of where they are stored.

Mark Mark MacCarthy, Senior Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology. Follow Mark on Twitter at @Mark_MacCarthy.