On May 1, the White House released its much anticipated report on the public and private collection and use of Big Data, “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values." Authored by a group led by White House counselor John Podesta, the report emphasizes the benefits of Big Data while cautioning against uses of Big Data that could erode prevailing privacy principles. Although the report focuses primarily on state, federal and law enforcement uses of Big Data, the report also urges players in the private digital ecosystem to increase consumer transparency with respect to Big Data collection. More specifically, the report recommends that industry players consider the following items when making decisions regarding their Big Data regimes:

  • Increase transparency regarding how websites respond to Do-Not-Track settings.
  • Generate more consumer attention to privacy disclosures and combat “privacy fatigue.”
  • Increase transparency with respect to third-party data collection.
  • Create more robust consumer control options for the use of data collected to supplement disclosure of data collection and retention via notice and consent.

The report also expressly recommends that privacy policy-makers focus on the Big Data practices and issues listed below. Accordingly, businesses that collect and use consumers’ personal information, including companies that participate in digital advertising, should be on the lookout for a renewed regulatory and, where noted, legislative focus in these areas: