Readout of White House Roundtable on Protecting Americans from Harmful Data Broker Practices

On Tuesday, the White House convened a roundtable with civil society leaders, researchers, and policymakers on how the data broker industry monetizes personal information and actions the Administration is taking to address potential  harms to American consumers. The session was hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the National Economic Council, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Justice.

Earlier that day, the CFPB announced that it plans to propose rules to ensure all data companies comply with the law and prevent brokers from selling certain data, limit the disclosure of sensitive “credit header” contact information, and give consumers the right to obtain data about themselves from brokers and dispute inaccuracies. Administration officials pledged in Tuesday’s session to continue using their authorities to subject data brokers to greater regulation and oversight, and to curb the harms they cause.

Participants shared stories, insights, and concerns about the harms and risks that data brokers’ practices create for everyday Americans. Issues raised include the surreptitious collection, use and sale of detailed sensitive data; data-driven scoring that limits access to housing and economic opportunities for Black and brown communities; predatory scams targeting individuals with cognitive vulnerabilities; increased risks to personal safety, including gender-based violence; and insufficient oversight of brokers under existing law.

Participants explained how data brokers purchase or acquire large volumes of exceedingly detailed data about people including geolocation and health information—often without their knowledge or consent. Recent advancements in artificial intelligence, attendees cautioned, have rapidly expanded data brokers’ abilities to draw inferences about individuals’ lifestyles, desires, and weaknesses, and are incentivizing rampant data collection to fuel their development. Participants also discussed the many different parties to whom brokers sell data—including advertisers, financial institutions, employers, landlords, and fraudsters—and the harms those sales have caused individuals and communities. Many shared stories of people who saw applications for credit and housing denied after reviewers purchased sensitive information about them—including data that was inaccurate, outdated, or not fit for purpose. Participants underscored how the data broker economy enables discriminatory practices in credit underwriting, insurance, housing, employment, and advertising, continuing patterns of exclusion that disproportionately harm underserved and vulnerable groups. Participants also described how data brokers have sold geolocation data to people who have used it to stalk and harass women, and interfere with women’s access to healthcare.

Civil Society Participants

Opening Speakers

  • Dayanira Del Rio, New Economy Project
  • Yeshimabeit Milner, Data for Black Lives
  • Justin Sherman, Duke University
  • Matt Schwartz, Consumer Reports

Participants

  • David Certner, AARP
  • Andrew Lewis, Aspen Institute
  • Cameron Kerry, Brookings
  • Ridhi Shetty, Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Richard Anthony, Public Citizen
  • Ruth Susswein, Consumer Action
  • Susan Weinstock, Consumer Federation of America
  • Ben Winters, Electronic Privacy Information Center
  • Julie Mao, Just Futures Law
  • Alex Ault, Lawyers Committee
  • Jonathan Walter, Leadership Conference
  • Kim Shalloo, National Association of County Veterans Service Officers
  • Nicole Cabañez, National Consumer Law Center
  • Chad Sniffen, National Network to End Domestic Violence
  • Bob Gellman, Privacy and Information Policy Consultant
  • Natasha Duarte, Upturn
  • Quandrea Patterson, Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Bradley Hazell, Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum

Government Participants
Opening Speakers

  • Arati Prabhakar, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Lael Brainard, Assistant to the President and Director of the National Economic Council
  • Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Lina Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission
  • Brian Boynton, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Department of Justice

Participants

  • Deirdre K. Mulligan, Principal Deputy Chief Technology Officer of the United States
  • Elizabeth Kelly, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
  • Dominique Duval-Diop, Chief Data Scientist of the United States
  • Arun Rao, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Consumer Protection Branch, Department of Justice
  • Stephanie Nguyen, Chief Technology Officer of the Federal Trade Commission
  • Kevin Moriarty, Attorney-Advisor, Federal Trade Commission
  • Erie Meyer, Chief Technologist of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

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Official news published at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/08/16/readout-of-white-house-roundtable-on-protecting-americans-from-harmful-data-broker-practices/

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