Privacy Groups Urge White House to Solicit Public Comment on Big Data

25 orgs sign

Privacy advocates and civil liberties groups are pushing the White House to accept public comments during its review of big data and the future of privacy as prescribed by President Obama in recent speeches.

The petition, delivered today to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was signed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the ACLU, the Center for Digital Democracy, Free Press, Consumer Watchdog, and 20 other privacy and public interest groups. It calls for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to consider a number of issues, including whether current laws are adequate to protect consumer privacy and how companies and government agencies could be more transparent in the use of big data.

"The public should be given the opportunity to contribute to the OSTP's review of 'big data and the future of privacy' since it is their information that is being collected and their privacy and their future that is at stake," the petitioners wrote.

Some of the petitioners, who met with White House advisor John Podesta's team today, will also stress how important it is that any review of big data and privacy go beyond government surveillance to include commercial entities.

"Bulk collection of this data puts consumers at an ever-increasing risk," petitioners wrote.

"We'll insist they take a critical eye," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.