Biden’s Government Order: A Ripple within the Ocean of Private Knowledge Issues | by Baker Nanduru | Mar, 2024



In the run-up to the 2024 United States major elections in California, my telephone has been buzzing continuous with calls and texts from political candidates.

It’s a evident reminder of the unchecked attain of knowledge brokers, entities I believe are behind this unsolicited barrage.


This week, the Biden administration took a stab at this challenge, issuing an govt order aimed toward curbing the sale of US navy personnel information to overseas entities.

On the floor, it sounds commendable. However in actuality? It’s like making an attempt to plug a single leak in a sieve — completely inadequate.

We’re speaking about an business the place our private lives are open books to the best bidder. Giants within the sport embody Meta, Google, Oracle, Equifax, and Acxiom, amongst others, buying and selling our privateness for revenue.

This entry is disturbingly simple, portray a grim image of our present privateness safeguards.

Supply: Sébastien Thibault /

The difficulty extends far past the realm of knowledge brokers. It’s a pervasive ecosystem the place private info is commodified at each flip.

Knowledge brokers, whereas important, are however one cog in an unlimited machine that features firms, advertisers, and even political entities — all leveraging private information to additional their goals.

In immediately’s digital age, each interplay, each click on, and each obtain is a possible information level being harvested. From the second we interact with the web, corporations of all sizes start gathering information. This isn’t restricted to the digital giants like Google or Meta; it spans the spectrum, enveloping each on-line service, app, and platform we use.

As soon as collected, this information not often stays in a silo. It’s offered, shared, or exchanged in a bustling market the place private particulars are handled as foreign money.

That is the place information brokers sometimes enter the image, aggregating info from numerous sources to create detailed profiles offered to the best bidder. You possibly can purchase any particular person’s info below 5 cents.

The tip customers of this information are as various as the information factors themselves. Companies use this info to tailor commercials, aiming to transform private preferences into earnings. Political candidates and events, very similar to those spamming my telephone, leverage these insights to focus on potential voters, crafting messages that resonate on a private stage.

This cycle of gathering, promoting, and utilizing private information highlights a systemic challenge inside our digital ecosystem. Knowledge brokers, whereas typically vilified, are merely fulfilling a requirement pushed by the advertising-centric fashions that dominate the web.

The true problem lies in addressing the underlying buildings that incentivize the commodification of private information.

The latest govt order, although maybe crafted with good intentions, barely skims the floor of a deep and turbulent sea of privateness considerations. It’s a stark reminder that piecemeal options are inadequate in opposition to the relentless waves of surveillance capitalism that erode our privateness each day.

This second calls not for incremental steps however for daring, complete reform — a clarion name to lawmakers to weave a sturdy tapestry of privateness legal guidelines that defend each side of shopper rights within the digital age.

Solely by way of such sweeping laws can we hope to assemble a bulwark robust sufficient to defend people from the invasive practices which have turn into all too frequent.

Till we see transformative motion, my telephone will proceed to ring with the undesirable echoes of a system, together with the political candidates who’re misusing the system and fail to respect the sanctity of private privateness.

Honest Credit score Reporting Act (FCRA) — 1970: Governs how credit score reporting businesses use shopper information, specializing in accuracy, equity, and privateness of private info in credit score reporting.

Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) — 1996: Applies to well being entities, guaranteeing the safety of particular person well being info, excluding cell well being apps, media corporations, on-line advertisers, and information brokers.

California Shopper Privateness Act (CCPA) / California Privateness Rights Act (CPRA) — 2018: Introduces complete privateness rights for California residents, requiring information brokers to register and permitting customers to choose out of knowledge promoting.

Government Orders on Privateness: Whereas quite a few through the years, latest orders deal with particular points like proscribing the sale of U.S. navy personnel info to overseas entities, showcasing focused relatively than complete approaches to privateness.

Household Instructional Rights and Privateness Act (FERPA) — 1974: Protects college students’ privateness by regulating instructional establishments’ use and disclosure of scholar information.

Youngsters’s On-line Privateness Safety Act (COPPA) — 1998: It protects the gathering and use of knowledge from youngsters below 13, with no particular regulation for youngsters.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) — 1999: Requires monetary establishments to clarify their information-sharing practices to clients and to guard delicate information.

Digital Communications Privateness Act (ECPA) — 1986: Protects numerous types of digital communications, amended by the USA PATRIOT and FREEDOM Acts to deal with trendy challenges.

Video Privateness Safety Act (VPPA) — 1988: Prevents wrongful disclosure of video tape rental or sale data, defending shopper privateness relating to their leisure selections.

Driver’s Privateness Safety Act (DPPA) — 1994: Regulates the privateness and disclosure of private info gathered by state Departments of Motor Autos.

These legal guidelines and govt orders kind the spine of privateness safety in america, highlighting a fragmented and sector-specific strategy to information privateness.

Whereas they supply sure safeguards, the present panorama underscores the necessity for extra complete, nationwide privateness laws that addresses the complexities of the digital age and gives uniform protections for all customers.


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