Sherman participates in White House Roundtable on Data Brokers

By Matt LoJacono // August 17, 2023

Sanford’s data broker expertise was once again at the forefront of tech policy this week as Justin Sherman was one of a select group of experts to attend a White House data broker policy roundtable.

Man, suit coat, smiling
Justin Sherman

On Tuesday, the White House convened a roundtable discussion to address concerning data broker practices and their implications for individuals' privacy. This initiative underscores the Biden administration's commitment to safeguarding personal data and limiting its exploitation by corporations.

Chaired by Arati Prabhakar, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the roundtable brought together prominent officials including Lael Brainard, Director of the National Economic Council, Rohit Chopra, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Lina Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and Brian Boynton, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General. This event coincided with an announcement from the CFPB, signaling its intention to introduce regulations to curtail the sale of certain data by data brokers for unauthorized purposes, in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Sherman, representing Sanford, spoke at the roundtable and actively contributed to the discussions. This gathering also included representatives from influential organizations such as Consumer Reports, Data for Black Lives, and the Alzheimer's Association. The event underscored the urgency of addressing the pressing challenges posed by data brokers, aligning with the Biden administration's proactive stance on data privacy.

The White House's engagement in this matter, along with the CFPB's proposed regulations, reflects a broader movement to reinforce privacy protections and counter the detrimental practices of data brokers. It further highlights the administration's dedication to empowering individuals with control over their personal data and advocating for comprehensive federal privacy legislation.

As discussions continue and efforts to tackle data broker concerns intensify, events like these demonstrate a collaborative approach among various stakeholders, including government bodies, academic institutions like Duke University, and advocacy groups. The implications reach far beyond individual privacy, encompassing national security and civil liberties considerations, thereby underscoring the critical importance of this ongoing dialogue.

This is the latest landmark in an impactful year for Sanford’s Cyber Policy Program. In February, the program released its report that shed light on the wide reach of data brokers and the privacy implications to users. This report, authored by Joanne Kim (PPS’22) has received widespread interest from state and federal policymakers and has been cited as a catalyst for congressional hearings and has been referenced in state laws. Sherman, who runs the data brokerage research project, appeared earlier this year on PBS Newshour, and gave testimony to a bipartisan congressional Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations in April. This research has since been cited in articles from prominent news outlets including The Washington Post (multiple articles), CNN, and myriad local and national media organizations.

Learn more about how Sanford is leading the way in tech policy.