NTIA Launches Inquiry on how Data Practices Affect Civil Rights

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has announced a Request for Comment on how companies’ data practices may impose outsized harm on marginalized or underserved communities. The ways in which firms collect, share, and use data can exacerbate existing structural inequities. 

  • Online job ads may be targeted based on real or perceived demographic characteristics such as age, sex, or race – reaching certain groups while ignoring others,

  • Apps that collect and sell location data could reveal details about the user’s movements that make them vulnerable to discrimination – such as an LGBTQ+-specific dating app or a Muslim prayer app,

  • The financial cost and time spent to secure one’s information after a data breach or identity theft incident can be more burdensome to correct and ultimately costly for low-income communities.

NTIA is seeking comments as it prepares a report analyzing whether and how commercial data practices can negatively affect marginalized or underserved communities, as well as how existing civil rights and privacy laws can be used to address privacy harms. This report will point to how current resources can be better deployed – and provide a guide for new privacy proposals. The request for comment builds on the work conducted by NTIA during three listening sessions. Comments will be due 45 days from publication in the Federal Register.

NTIA Launches Inquiry on how Data Practices Affect Civil Rights