Recommendations on Privacy and Civil Liberties in Government Data Collection

Yael Weinman photo

The revelations about U.S. government data collection and surveillance programs have profoundly damaged the credibility of the U.S. government with significant spill-over impact for the tech sector.  Restoring trust and stemming the damage will require a robust discussion on how to ensure that privacy and civil liberty considerations are appropriately addressed in connection with these programs.

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) is in a unique position to make recommendations as to how privacy and civil liberty protections can be built into the U.S. government’s data collection and surveillance programs.

The tech sector has a unique role in this conversation. Our companies work to protect their customers’ privacy as they provide them with innovative products and services. 

Today, in a submission to PCLOB, ITI has joined together with four other tech associations to offer recommendations as to how the U.S. government can incorporate better privacy and civil liberty practices without compromising the critical responsibility of protecting the nation.

The recommendations are based on three principles:

  • Economic security and national security are deeply connected;
  • Security can be advanced in a privacy-protective manner; and,
  • Restoring trust, both domestically and internationally, must be a driving force for the Administration

The proposals begin with greater transparency and oversight in connection with U.S. data collection and oversight programs. The full set of proposals can be found here.

It is imperative that the U.S. government take action to regain the public trust. Alarming repercussions for U.S. businesses operating globally can result from proposals under consideration in other countries. Major trading partners like Brazil and the European Union are considering strict measures that would begin to unravel the global economy by forcing companies wanting to operate within their borders to house all operations there or restrict the transfer of data outside their jurisdiction. 

The tech sector will continue to discuss these issues with relevant stakeholders, including the broader business community, privacy organizations, the government, and others. And we will continue to look for solutions to these challenges.

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