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NTIA Seeks Comment on Big Data and the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

June 04, 2014
News Media Contact
Juliana Gruenwald

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is seeking public comment on how developments related to “big data” impact the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

Today, NTIA issued a Request for Comments on how issues raised by big data impact the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, the Obama Administration’s framework for privacy protections released in February 2012. Today’s action was called for in the White House’s big data and privacy working group report on how big data is transforming the way we live and work. Counselor to the President John Podesta convened senior government officials, including U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to conduct the wide-ranging review of big data and privacy, and the group presented its findings to President Obama on May 1.

“As recommended in the big data and privacy working group report, the Commerce Department is taking the lead in examining big data issues and their impact on the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and our economy,” Secretary Pritzker said. “The Obama administration takes personal privacy very seriously, and we must ensure the necessary privacy protections along with big data developments. Today’s request for comments is part of our continuing dialogue among government, business, consumers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders about maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks of big data.”

“As the White House’s big data report notes, there are many potential societal benefits from the use of big data,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “We are now asking the public to help us assess how big data might impact the protections called for in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.”

Specifically, NTIA is seeking comment on:

  • how the principles in the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights support innovations related to big data while also responding to potential privacy risks;
  • whether the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights should be clarified or modified to better  accommodate the benefits or risks of big data;
  • whether a responsible use framework should be used to address the challenges posed by big data; and
  • mechanisms to best address the limits of the “notice and consent” model for privacy protection noted in the big data report.

Those seeking to offer input on these questions will have 60 days after the Request for Comments is published in the Federal Register to submit comments either by email at or mail to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue N.W., Room 4725, Attn:  Privacy RFC 2014, Washington, DC 20230.

Since 2012, NTIA has been working to implement a key aspect of the President’s privacy framework by hosting a series of meetings that provide a forum for stakeholders to draft voluntary, enforceable codes of conduct to enhance consumer privacy. The first code of conduct focused on the transparency of mobile applications, while the second multistakeholder process, launched in February, is aimed at developing a code of conduct related to commercial uses of facial recognition technology.

About NTIA

NTIA is the Executive Branch agency that advises the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and economic growth. To find out more about NTIA, visit