NTIA: ‘Notice and Choice’ Privacy Regime Needs to Go


The Biden administration is telling the Federal Trade Commission that while potential privacy legislation is good, it is no reason not to aggressively pursue regulations, including “abandoning” the notice and choice approach to Big Tech’s use of consumer data.

That came in the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s comments to the FTC in its ongoing privacy regulation rulemaking proceeding.

FTC chair Lina Khan — who, unlike the FCC, has a Democratic majority to work with — has made it clear she thinks Big Tech’s privacy practices need more government oversight.

“The significant presence of potential federal legislation in consumer privacy reform discussions does not obviate the importance of the FTC’s efforts to adopt strong, comprehensive rules governing commercial surveillance and data security,” NTIA told the commission.

“The complexities and pace of today’s digital world long ago outpaced what notice and transparency can accomplish as a predominant focus of privacy policy, and they cannot be the primary bulwark against invasive or unfair data practices,” the agency said.

As part of that shift in approach, NTIA said, the FTC should also shift the burden on mitigating privacy risks from individuals to businesses. One way to achieve that would be to adopt tough new limits on the purposes data can be used for.

NTIA also said the FTC needs to require companies to minimize the data they collect and restrict them from gathering data for one purpose and using it for another — like for targeted ads, to better protect children — and consider restricting facial recognition technologies. ▪️

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.