WPF advises FTC regarding privacy frameworks and knowledge governance; files key comments

The World Privacy Forum has submitted a set of key comments to the US Federal Trade Commission regarding privacy frameworks and governance. The comments introduce the idea of knowledge governance and propose frameworks that will work to solve the serious privacy challenges we face in complex data ecosystems.

The emerging data world is one of rapid data transformation and data fusion. It requires an approach based on sturdy privacy principles (such as the existing Fair Information Practices, or FIPs model) combined with, or layered with, knowledge governance principles (such as those articulated by Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, discussed in detail in the comments.) Joining FIPs (or other baseline privacy principles) with governance principles inclusive of due process will allow for mutuality in data and privacy solutions and will provide an architecture for identifying, assessing, and mitigating privacy risk on an ongoing basis. 

This kind of framework consisting of FIPs plus modern governance, correctly constructed, creates a system of knowledge governance that will allow for a broadened approach to privacy and data that is collaborative, fair, and acknowledges the challenges of highly complex data environments. The challenges of the early Internet era are not the same challenges we face today. It therefore makes sense to adapt the frameworks we are using to solve new data-related problems. It is not feasible to continue forward attempting to adapt privacy frameworks primarily to the individual control model — the data ecosystems have become too complex for relying on this approach. 

Specifically, these comments include a discussion of the following points: 

I. Privacy Principles and Data Governance 

II. The Role of the FTC in Modern Governance Frameworks 

III. Case Studies: 

Data brokers 

AI and machine learning, 


The comments also discuss the centrality of mutual trust. In a deep analysis, a breakdown of mutual trust and its consequences is among the roots of multiple problems we face in privacy. These comments articulate approaches that address how to advance privacy thought, and begin to solve the problems of trust breakdown in privacy, which appears to be a problem that is getting worse. The comments also articulate privacy challenges with data brokers, noting that privacy frameworks, to be sustainable, must address problems with data brokers. 

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