A comprehensive federal privacy law could play an important role in the national discussion of race and discrimination. As explained recently by a group which the Insights Association helped to found, Privacy for America, data privacy can play “an outsized role in protecting marginalized communities” in the U.S.
“Personal information such as a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity can be used by bad actors online to determine eligibility for vital services like health care or insurance. In some cases, these bad actors charge different prices to different groups for the same goods and services. Privacy laws in America have not kept up with the constantly evolving landscape of the Internet, leaving marginalized communities vulnerable.”
Privacy for America finds this situation “unacceptable,” so we aim to eliminate discrimination for consumers in the digital space as part of our proposed federal privacy legislative framework.
A starting point is “moving away from the old ‘notice-and-choice’ models of yesterday, which require consumers to review lengthy privacy policies to determine how a company plans to use and share their personal information.” Rather, the Privacy for America approach would prohibit companies “engaging in data practices that are harmful or abusive to consumers, while still ensuring that all Americans can benefit from new and innovative technologies online.”
Privacy for America’s equitable legislation “would outright prohibit a range of dangerous practices that put personal data at risk and hold companies more accountable. Rather than asking for consent, the framework would ban the use of personal information to determine if someone is eligible for employment, credit, insurance, health care, education admissions, financial aid or housing, outside of existing federal laws, strengthening the protections already in place. And it would also ban the practice of charging an individual a higher price for any product or service based on personal traits such as race, religion, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Finally, the framework provides these broad-based protections to all Americans, no matter where they live, rather than relying on a patchwork set of federal and state laws that don’t provide clear protections for everyone.”
Privacy for America urges Congress to help “protect all Americans, including underserved communities across the country.”