“The fusion of many different kinds of data, processed in real time, has the power to deliver exactly the right message, product or service to consumers before they even ask,” the White House wrote in its highly publicized report. “Unfortunately, 'perfect personalization' also leaves room for subtle and not-so-subtle forms of discrimination in pricing, services and opportunities.”
Shortly after that report came out, the Commerce Department sought comments about some of the issues the document raised -- including whether new laws are needed to address some of the potential pitfalls of data collection.
Some privacy advocates responded by calling for new restrictions on companies' ability to collect data -- particularly sensitive data, including information about health, race and age.
But the Direct Marketing Association says that “Big Data” doesn't raise any concerns that would justify new laws.
Big data has not created new concerns regarding the private sector’s responsible use of marketing data for marketing purposes,” the DMA says in comments filed this week with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “Regardless of quantity, data is data -- it may be used for good or for harm.”
The ad group says that consumers already are protected by specific laws, like the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, which protects medical data, and the Children's Privacy Protection Act, which limits companies' ability to collect data from kids under 13.
"The scope of data has not made existing protections less valuable or less effective,” the DMA argues.
The DMA also says in its comments that there's no need for new laws to regulate data brokers. The organization specifically takes aim at a proposal requiring data brokers to disclose information about consumers and let them revise information in their profiles.
"The cost of implementing access and correction for marketing databases is prohibitive for most companies and would outweigh any benefits,” the DMA says.