Using very general terms, the report raises the spectre of third-party “data brokers” who might segment consumer preferences in ways that result in what’s being called “digital redlining” — in which, for instance, an ethnic group misses promotional product discounts. Despite a paucity of real-world examples, the report warns this could happen in housing or health care as well, thus justifying government analysis of private data algorithms for offending patterns, whether intentional or not.
That corporations have access to volumes of personal information is no justification for government micromanagement of data collection. We may not love our wireless carriers, or Facebook, or even our bank, but we don’t fear them. We engage them in a private contract for specific services, as part of which we might agree to provide them with information. Misuse that data or otherwise mistreat us, and we can walk away.
The government, on the other hand, is a different story. It holds the power to tax, to coerce, to fine, and to jail. Ask any small business owner whether they fear the power of regulatory agencies. Ask any taxpayer how they feel upon receiving an unexpected letter from the IRS.
Sununu has obviously never been poor and has never had to worry about bill collectors. He also has obviously never had to worry about redlining to so blithely dismiss it despite its long history in the US. Yeah, you can tell Sununu is a conservative.