FPF Files Comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on Privacy, Equity, and Civil Rights
On March 6, the Future of Privacy Forum filed comments with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in response to their request for comment on privacy, equity, and civil rights.
NTIA’s “Listening Sessions on Privacy, Equity, and Civil Rights,” drew attention to the well-documented and ongoing history of data-driven discrimination in the digital economy. When the digital economy functions properly, all individuals, regardless of race, gender, or other historically discriminated-against attributes, are able to equally access the benefits of technology, including better access to education and employment opportunities, while trusting that their personal data is protected from misuse. Individuals and communities can benefit from digital tools that provide important services regarding education, employment, housing, credit, insurance, and government benefits. In addition, society as a whole benefits from diverse individuals contributing different perspectives, ideas, and objectives without cause to fear discrimination or harm.
But when the digital economy reinforces human bias rather than combats discrimination, individuals suffer concrete harms, including artificially limited educational opportunities, reduced access to jobs and financial services, and more. At the same time, misuse of personal information can contribute to biased outcomes, undermine trust in digital services, or both.
FPF’s comments urge NTIA to include these three recommendations in its forthcoming report to advance protections for data privacy, equity, and civil rights in the US:
1. Support for Congressional efforts to pass a comprehensive federal privacy law that includes limitations on data collection, heightened safeguards for sensitive data use, support for socially beneficial research, and protections for civil rights, including protections regarding automated decision-making that has legal or similarly significant effects.
2. Support the administration to promote a common approach to privacy, AI, and civil rights among executive agencies in the agencies’ guidance to private entities and internally on the processing of personal information, and tech procurement processes.
3. Continue proactive engagement and meaningful consultation with marginalized groups in conversations regarding privacy and automated decision-making across the administration and federal agencies.