FCC Commissioner Starks Urges Data Minimization in Broadcast Industry

October 24, 2022

FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, speaking last week at the Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition, called on broadcasters to minimize the personal data they collect from individuals and suggested the FCC might step in as a regulator. “I have seen distinct harm in the [broadcast media] ecosystem where the sale of geographic location information and other data to third parties and data brokers distinctly doesn’t benefit the user,” Starks said. “We have a unique opportunity to get ahead of this, to make sure that broadcasters are good actors in the market from the start instead of racing to unwind any privacy harms—ex ante, not ex post.” Starks stressed the need to focus on data minimization, secondary uses of data, and targeted advertising in the broadcast industry. “[I]s there perhaps an effort for the FCC to lead here?” Starks added, noting that the FCC might rely on its “role as the regulator of television equipment.” Starks delivered his remarks at an October 18 event titled “The Future of Broadcast Television.” His speech comes on the heels of a recent inquiry by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel regarding the collection and use of geolocation data by telephone carriers.

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