Senator Markey Statement on White House Big Data Report

Senator has introduced legislation to strengthen children’s privacy, address data breaches, and ensure data broker accountability

Washington (May 1, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Science, Commerce and Transportation Committee, release the following statement after the White House issues its report, “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values”. Senator Markey is a Congressional leader on protecting the privacy rights of Americans in the era of Big Data, including convening a Congressional briefing on the data broker industry, drafting principles for student privacy legislation, introducing with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) the “Personal Data Protection and Breach Accountability Act”, and joining with Chairman John Rockefeller (D-W.V.) in introducing the “Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act”. As a Member of the House of Representatives, Markey co-authored the Children’s Online Privacy and Prevention Act (COPPA), and in November 2013 introduced the bipartisan, bicameral “Do Not Track Kids Act” to update COPPA for the 21st century. 

“The era of Big Data shouldn’t become the era of Big Danger for consumers’ personal information. The increased use of data hold promise, but at the same time there are perils from a privacy perspective. As private companies collect and sell a vast array of personal information about the American public, we need to put in place a system of oversight and safeguards that give consumers’ control over their personal information, especially when it comes to children and teens.

“We need to be aware of any privacy problems that are posed to students when their personal information is in the hands of private companies. Parents, not schools, have the right to control information about their children, and I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks that will ensure a child’s educational record is not sold as a product to the highest bidder on the open market.  

 

“In the 21st century, data mining and information brokerage firms seem to believe there is no such thing as privacy. We need to ensure that these companies don’t play fast and lose with American’s most sensitive information. And when personal information does fall into the wrong hands, we need retailers across industries to make their security safeguards iron-clad to ward off hackers prowling for Americans’ personal information.

“I applaud the President for shining a light on these critical consumer privacy issues and the great opportunities for the appropriate, innovative uses of almost unfathomable volumes of data, and I look forward to working with the administration to protect the most valuable possessions Americans have – their personal information and identities.”