Blumenthal Statement On WH ‘Big Data’ Report

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement in response to a recent report released by the White House Council of Advisors on Science and Technology titled “Big Data: A Technological Perspective,” which examines the latest technology available to manage big data and preserve privacy.

“Never before has so much granular data about individual Americans been so ubiquitous. The digital age has dramatically increased the ability of government and private companies to monitor and analyze what we do – in private as well as in public. This data keeps online content and services available and free, and it carries unlimited potential for advances in health care, education, and science. At the same, Americans value their privacy, and they believe in their right to choose not to be tracked online.

“Unfortunately, as we learned from data breaches at Target and Neiman Marcus and from the unprecedented surveillance actions enabled by the secret FISA Courts, our laws have failed to keep pace. The recent White House report on ‘Big Data’ provides support for policies I have long championed: protecting consumers’ online identities; updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act; and advancing a meaningful Privacy Bill of Rights. Too much information in one place raises the threat of abuse, whether by unchecked law enforcement, behavior-tracking corporations, or malicious hackers and thieves. The process envisioned by this report unfortunately may delay strong legal standards and rules. The time for debate has ended, and the time for action is now: Americans deserve strong, meaningful and enforceable privacy protections.”