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By Sam Pfeifle
Publications Director

Now that the partial government shutdown is over, FTC Commissioner Julie Brill can focus on her next public speaking event. She will headline NYU-Poly’s third Sloan Cybersecurity Lecture, “Reclaim Your Name: Privacy in the World of Big Data,” to be held Wednesday, October 23, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The event will be streamed live at this link. Also speaking on Wednesday will be a panel moderated by NYU Alfred B. Engelberg Professor of Law Katherine Strandburg and featuring Acxiom  CPO Jennifer Barrett Glasgow, CIPP/US, Julia Angwin of The Wall Street Journal, and Danny Weitzner, head of MIT’s CSAIL Decentralized Information Group and former White House staffer.

Brill’s speech, which she promises will be “pretty colorful,” will be an opportunity for her to build on an idea she launched back in June and for which she is already seeing traction. “I look at Acxiom’s AboutTheData website as a response to what I called for,” she said in an interview with The Privacy Advisor this week. “It’s not nearly full-blown Reclaim Your Name, but it’s a first step toward providing more transparency to consumers about data collection and use practices.”

But what about the inaccuracies? Isn’t it possible that consumers actually become more wary of data collection when they see what Acxiom has available for perusal?

That’s possible, Brill allowed. “I do think the average consumer may not understand fully that the data they’re being shown is just the data that’s used for marketing, and Acxiom has entirely different data that are used for eligibility and fraud decisions. I raised that concern with Acxiom: If all these inaccuracies are here, what about the other databases? And I was assured that the other data was kept siloed and tends to be more accurate.”

Which, of course, raises the question of whether it might be more important for Acxiom to make transparent the data it holds for use in eligibility and fraud decisions, as that’s the information that could most adversely affect consumers if it were in accurate. 

“It’s the other silos of data that I think are much more significant and are silos of data that consumers need to get comfortable with,” Brill said, “and we need to eliminate the unease that consumers may have that there might be a similar number of errors.”

Brill will get into many of these ideas Wednesday, but will also use the opportunity of addressing a tech-savvy audience to speak to them in their language about “enlisting them in focusing on privacy issues as they work with industry or on their own to develop great new products for consumers to use,” Brill said. “They really are the revolution we’re experiencing, and I want them to focus on some of these privacy-connecting and enhancing tools that I know they can develop.”

“I think that policy-makers like me,” she continued, “and law enforcers like me, and others who are thinking a lot about privacy policy need to interact a lot more with the technology community so that we’re not working at cross purposes and have our interests aligned and are working toward the same goal.”

Read More By Sam Pfeifle:
W3C Do Not Track in Limbo
Amidst U.S. Gov’t Shutdown, State AGs Chuckle at Idea of Federal Breach Law
“Privacy by Default” May Be Big Post-Regulation Issue
Privacy Enforcement: “It’s a Two-Way Street”

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