White House calls attention to harmful data broker practices


In a move to address concerns over personal data privacy, the White House will host a roundtable focusing on the negative practices of data brokers.

Spearheaded by Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the initiative aligns with President Biden’s push for robust privacy measures.

Arati Prabhakar said, “President Biden has called for stronger privacy protections to limit the personal data that companies collect on Americans. We need distinct limits on how companies can collect, use, and share highly personal data. Protections from abusive data practices will give people more agency over how their data is used.”

The roundtable, set to be an insightful event, will see participation from notable figures like National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Rohit Chopra, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton.

Coinciding with the roundtable is an announcement by the CFPB regarding the proposal of new rules. These rules aim to restrict certain data brokers from selling data, unless the purposes align with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Rohit Chopra, the CFPB Director, shared his concerns saying, “Reports about monetisation of sensitive information are particularly worrisome when data is powering ‘artificial intelligence’ and other automated decision-making. The CFPB will be taking steps to ensure modern-day data brokers know they cannot engage in illegal collection and sharing of our data.”

The newly proposed rules will further provide clarity on the use of “credit header data”. According to the CFPB’s plan, it will be illegal for brokers to use this data for activities such as training AI, targeted advertising, and aiding stalkers. However, applications related to government benefits and insurance underwriting will remain permissible.

Recent studies have illuminated the risks posed by data brokers to Americans’ privacy. Moreover, the data brokering industry has been highlighted as a potential threat to national security. This roundtable is part of the Biden administration’s consistent efforts to regulate data brokers, as demonstrated by previous actions taken against them.

Attendees of this event will include prominent researchers and consumer advocates, all collaborating to address this pressing issue.

With Congress increasingly alarmed by data brokering practices, and the administration hinting at a forthcoming AI Bill of Rights, it’s evident that efforts to ensure data privacy and security are becoming a priority.

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