White House Releases Big Data Study

The White House yesterday released its report on how the use of “big data” affects Americans. The report, entitled “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values” is available here.

The White House report is a thoughtful and balanced review of both the benefits and potential costs of the growing use of big data. It acknowledges that “Since the earliest days of the commercial web, online advertising has been a vital driver of the growth of the Internet.”

The report recommends that Congress pass uniform, national data breach legislation, which we support. However, we do not support the recommendation that Congress pass comprehensive privacy legislation.

We do not believe there is a present need for broad new privacy legislation. Government regulation does not have the flexibility to adapt effectively to the rapidly changing technologies and new privacy issues that have been generated by the Internet and new social media. Rather, we believe that consumers can be best protected through a combination of existing privacy laws and regulations, privacy enhancing technologies, effective self-regulation and the ultimate backstop of the powers of the FTC to stop false, deceptive or unfair acts or practices.

ANA was one of the founding members of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), which provides consumers with the ability to opt out of receiving interest based ads across media platforms. If your company is not already a member of the DAA program, we strongly urge you to join.

In January, President Obama directed White House Counselor John Podesta to lead the working group which developed the “big data” report. ANA and other industry groups met with Podesta and other White House staff in March.

As part of this effort, the White House Science and Technology Policy Office issued a formal Request for Information in the Federal Register. Here are the comments that ANA filed on this matter.    

If you have any questions, please contact Dan Jaffe (djaffe@ana.net) or Keith Scarborough (kscarborough@ana.net) in ANA’s Washington, DC office at (202) 296-1883.