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USACM Recommends Technologies to Protect Personal Interactions with Big Data Collectors

Comments to NTIA Urge Innovation and Research to Assure Consumer Privacy and Data Security


Contact: Virginia Gold

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Washington, DC, August 5, 2014 – In comments submitted today to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) said the collection and analysis of “big data” resulting from innovations in computing and electronic communication technologies requires privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) that make it easy for people with or without technical knowledge to protect their personal interactions with data collectors.  USACM expressed concern that that the language of recent Big Data reports from U.S. government agencies suggests that limiting the collection of personal data is inherently infeasible in a Big Data world.

“The challenges posed by the collection, analysis, and use of large quantities of linked data about multiple individuals are real, but the privacy enhancing technologies we recommend can offer mechanisms that avoid a zero-sum approach to these challenges,” said Travis Breaux, Chair of the ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) Privacy and Security Committee.  Addressing the ostensible tension introduced by reports from both the Administration and the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST), Breaux said that “USACM wants policy makers to resist the temptation to devalue data collection in favor of greater attention on governing usage by promoting countervailing innovation and Fair Information Privacy Principles (FIPPs).”   Breaux is Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University

USACM submitted detailed recommendations to manage the use of collected data, including responsible frameworks, notice and consent, feasible deletion, simplified sets of privacy rules, latent information, and privacy preference profiles in response to specific questions in the NTIA’s Request for Comment.

Read USACM’s public comments to NTIA at

With more than 100,000 members, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. The ACM U.S. Public Policy Council (USACM) serves as the focal point for ACM's interaction with U.S. government organizations, the computing community, and the U.S. public in all matters of U.S. public policy related to information technology.

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