WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) called for new limits on the ways in which companies can collect or use personal information in comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Tuesday. The FTC is seeking comment on whether it should implement new trade regulation rules on companies’ data collection and sales practices.
The NTIA filing encourages the FTC to craft rules curbing “commercial surveillance” and provide strong privacy protections for the public.
NTIA’s filing offers the FTC a roadmap for writing privacy rules. It urges the consumer protection agency to adopt regulations that shift the burden of protecting privacy from consumers to the companies that profit from collecting and selling their data. Key recommendations include:
- Requiring companies to minimize the data they collect,
- Restricting companies from using data gathered for one purpose for another purpose (such as using data collected as part of providing a service to a consumer to serve them targeted ads),
- Taking a comprehensive approach to new privacy protections, with more stringent protections for marginalized communities and vulnerable populations such as children, where appropriate, and
- Considering stricter limits on biometric technologies, such as facial recognition technologies, because of the higher risk of harm.
“Strong privacy rules will help make the Internet a better place for everyone,” Alan Davidson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information, said. “NTIA is calling for rules that stop the unnecessary and harmful collection and use of personal information. Companies need guardrails about what they can build, and NTIA supports the FTC’s efforts to put those rules in place.”
NTIA is President Biden’s advisor on telecommunications and Internet policy. The agency convened listening sessions last year on the intersection of privacy, equity, and civil rights. The agency intends to further explore how commercial data flows of personal information can disparately harm marginalized or disadvantaged communities and will issue a request for comment soon.