WASHINGTON, June 27, 2019 – The framework for federal privacy regulation is emerging as another flashpoint in some conservatives’ political battles with Silicon Valley powerhouses.
In particular Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn said Wednesday that technology companies are using the complexity of their platforms to justify lack of transparency regarding how they are using consumers’ data.
“The more data companies extract, the more profitable they are,” she said, speaking at a keynote address to the generally free-market group Free State Foundation.
“Big tech needs to trust the American consumer to make the wise decision, which means big tech needs to be transparent,” said Blackburn.
Many at the event endorsed the call for privacy regulation. Privacy violations can result in consumer harm in the marketplace, harms which should be “identified, analyzed and potentially regulated,” said Noah Phillips, Commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission. Congress should “move cautiously” to ensure that consumers have more accessible information to make informed decisions.
Because data use and collection are “vital” for the economy, any new privacy law must allow room for growth and innovation as well as “investment and risk-taking”, he said.
The consensus among policymakers and consumers is that they need to provide consumers control of their personal information with a “neutral all-encompassing federal privacy law,” said Kelly Cole, senior vice president of government affairs at Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association.
The sharing of personal data must be done “carefully and approximately,” said Cole, otherwise consumers may “turn away” from innovating technology that may benefit them. The FTC, she said, has the “right expertise” to develop strong and robust privacy rules to ensure consumers “keep coming back.”
There is “no way” to opt out of data collection anymore, said Michelle Richardson, director at the Center for Democracy and Technology. She argued that Congress needs to rebalance power between companies and consumers and set “clear lines and boundaries” to determine what kind of data sharing is inappropriate.
“People would be shocked to hear how little their personal data is worth,” she said. ”There are many ways to process data in innovative ways, we should also expect very advanced privacy policies.”
Legislation should give the FTC limited rule making authority and additional resources to help grow the internet ecosystem, said Lynn Follansbee, vice president of law and policy at US Telecom. A strong, national privacy framework, she said, will balance the need for clear protections for American consumers and allow “unparalleled” innovation.
Consumers should have “meaningful transparency” regardless of where they are and what product or service they are using, said Loretta Polk, vice president and deputy general counsel of NCTA, an association of cable and broadband operators. The work that the FTC is doing now can help shape the legislation’s framework.
“Parity ensures consistent privacy protection for consumers in the digital marketplace, regardless of the entity they interact with,” she said.
(Photo of Sen. Marsha Blackburn's keynote address at the Free State Foundation event.)
- Ajit Pai on Tribal Broadband, Defense Department’s 5G Network, Mobilitie at Daley Center, New Register of Copyrights
- CEO Greg Mesch Recounts How CityFibre, UK’s Third Major Telecom Provider, Grew With Wholesale Network
- Coronavirus Pandemic Renders Small Businesses More Reliant on Digital E-Commerce Platforms Than Ever Before
- Breakfast Media Minute: September 22, 2020
- Mobile Technology Aided the Growth of Black Lives Matter, But Will Hashtag Outrage Lead to Change?
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Fiber4 months ago
Fiber Networks Hold a Cybersecurity Advantage Over Rival Co-Axial and Wireless Technologies, Say Panelists
Congress4 months ago
Senators Introduce Healthcare Broadband Bill as House Companion, Proposes $2 Billion Telehealth Expansion
Artificial Intelligence3 months ago
Brookings Panelists Emphasize Importance of Addressing Biases in Artificial Intelligence Technology
China5 months ago
China Expert Predicts that Nation’s Flawed Coronavirus Response Will Damage the Power of Chinese Communist Party
Infrastructure6 months ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online Will Stream Every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET on ‘Broadband and the Coronavirus’
Education6 months ago
Online Elementary Education is No Spring Break for Parents Teaching from Home
Artificial Intelligence3 months ago
U.S. State Department Employing Artificial Intelligence Against COVID-19 Misinformation
Rural5 months ago
Why the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is So Significant, and How to Succeed in Applying For RDOF