Public Comments: WPF files comments urging the SEC to protect asset-level data privacy of consumers

The World Privacy Forum submitted comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission today requesting that the SEC do more to protect the privacy of consumers’ asset information. Asset information — the financial information attached to mortgages, car loans, and other consumer borrowing activities– is very attractive to the consumer data industry. We would be happier with the current SEC proposal if it were practical to keep all sensitive asset-level data under the direct control of the Commission or, perhaps, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Direct involvement by a federal agency, while no guarantee of a better outcome for data subjects, would provide better and clearer accountability for maintenance of the data as well as the possibility of meaningful enforcement.

New WPF Report — The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future

To score is human. Ranking individuals by grades and other performance numbers is as old as human society. Consumer scores — numbers given to individuals to describe or predict their characteristics, habits, or predilections — are a modern day numeric shorthand that ranks, separates, sifts, and otherwise categorizes individuals and also predicts their potential future actions. This new report by Pam Dixon and Robert Gellman explores this issue of predictive scores and privacy.

The Scoring of America: Op Ed for IAPP & FTC Alternate Scoring Conference

This op ed was originally published Wednesday, March 19 2014 in IAPP for the FTC Alternate Scoring Conference.

In our modern sea of data, the resources to examine all relevant information regarding a decision is no longer feasible, so we use shortcuts. Consumer scores built using predictive analytics and fed by large datasets are the modern-day shortcuts to understanding individual consumer behavior. That’s why new and unregulated consumer scores abound. They are used widely in today’s world to predict consumers’ behavior, spending, health, fraud, profitability, and much more. These scores rely on petabytes of information coming from newly available data streams, and some old ones.

New Privacy Resource: The Origins of Fair Information Practices

Chris Hoofnagle of Berkeley Law has just published arguably the single most important archive in privacy today: it is the transcripts of six of the HEW meetings in the early 197os that formed the origins of today’s Fair Information Practices. FIPs have now for 40 years formed the cornerstone of most of the privacy laws passed globally. Long lost to the dust of time, the original hearing transcripts have never been available online, and even access to the paper versions have not been widely available.