The Need for Privacy Actions and Accountability

I think one of the greatest unmet needs in our society is the need for privacy amid the bloat of Commercially-Available Information (CAI), and I think that there are at least three key components which require attention from the administrative branch in order to meet this need reasonably well:

  1. Enforcing and enhancing privacy protections for citizens.
  2. Facilitating improved digital security and privacy education campaigns for citizens.
  3. Establishing international norms for the processing of sensitive data, including how data may be processed with respect to how people interact with digital services.

Businesses are constantly inventing new ways to violate our privacy, and the Federal Trade Commission is looking for help with modifying this behavior.

The article FTC Staff Comment to the NTIA: Developing the Administration’s Approach to Consumer Privacy [Legal Library > Browse > Advocacy Filings] does a fantastic job reviewing the modern reality of our digital world and how it intersects with consumer privacy. In particular, skip down to pages 20 and 21 to see the FTC’s call to action. Here’s a brief quote from the document:

The FTC also understands that both Congress and the Administration are
considering federal privacy legislation, and the Commission strongly supports those efforts. Any legislation should balance consumers’ legitimate concerns about the protections afforded to the collection, use, and sharing of their data with business’ need for clear rules of the road, consumers’ demand for data-driven products and services, and the importance of flexible frameworks that foster innovation

The FTC and Congress need an administration who will act forcefully in response to this need - particularly in this time when we are collectively talking so much about A.I. and LLM technologies.

We’ve already seen the harm they can bring, and the pain they have already caused among the youth, as discussed on The Young Turks today, November 6.

On the Risky Business Soapbox podcast, episode 79 (named Preventing MFA reset attacks), there is a fantastic, related discussion between the host and guest on these topics of consumer education and international norms.

  • Skip to 21:53 and listen onward for a couple perspectives on these topics.

Operation Hope should make consumer privacy a cornerstone of the campaign.

I’ll check out this podcast. It sounds interesting.

As for a need for privacy I think there has been a framing issue. The way this should be approached is not whether the data collector has the duty to the collected, but it should be whether there are right of the originator to control commodification of said data. Originators of the data should have the right to exclusivity at which I believe they do have the right control access. I think a person’s personal data should be treated much more like a trade secret of a corporation.

For instance, I believe I should be able to hand over my rights to all my data to a not for profit which can regulate all that data and how it is monetized. This could act like a bonus payment for some. Anyone that had originated data would be due a royalty or a licensing fee. They could be paid out of a pool that the not-for-profit manages. This could also allow people to have a gradient on how much data they shared. This could reflect how much money they were allowed to be paid out of the pool for any given time.