ABA urges FTC to consider positive aspects of consumer data collection

As the Federal Trade Commission explores a rulemaking to govern the collection of personal data for commercial purposes, it should consider the current landscape of federal and state laws on data security and avoid pursuing regulations that discourage innovation that has benefitted consumers in financial services, the American Bankers Association said Monday in comments filed with the agency.

The FTC in August announced it is exploring potential rules “to crack down on harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security” for businesses that collect and use consumer data. In its comment letter, ABA took issue with that framing, noting that the agency’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking failed to mention the benefits of data and technology. “The banking industry uses data and technology to optimize delivery channels and messages and to improve inclusion through the development of new products and services. Technology also helps businesses protect against fraud, cyberattacks and ransomware,” ABA said.

If the FTC moves forward with its rulemaking, it should recognize bank leadership in privacy, avoid conflicting standards and ensure that entities engaged in the same activity are subject to the same requirements, the association said. The agency should also avoid undue restrictions on consumer choice and the beneficial use of consumer data. “Data and innovation are integral to a more inclusive, efficient, and safe and sound financial services marketplace,” ABA said.