Congress must act to strengthen the privacy of open banking

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Data privacy and consumer-directed data usage is at the heart of many new payment initiatives, fintechs and open banking, and regulation and laws that govern data and privacy must truly achieve that end, and not dilute it.

Creating a national privacy law can provide many benefits, especially since organizations will only have to follow one standard. However, if a law such as this were to be created, it is necessary to ensure the right to self-determination. Right now, consumers' free choice is being impeded on a massive scale.

One of the most important factors in passing privacy legislation is to protect the people's right to make their own choices.
The more data that is collected on consumers and used to profile and target consumers, either with advertisements or for other, more malicious purposes, the more this intrusion of privacy impedes on that right.

Little by little, consumers are seeing their individual sovereignty decrease. Whether consumers know it or not, they are guided by choices that may have been pre-determined for them based on individual profiles that have been constructed based on them. For the big players, consumers are just a variety of separate data points.

An individual can be classified as an impulsive buyer, depressed, far-left Democrat, or far-right Republican. Once a person has been profiled, the content he or she sees can subtly guide browsing experiences and guide choices. In that sense, what consumers think are their choices aren’t “free” -- they were shaped by the organizations trying to add to their bottom line.

This is why it is increasingly important that consumers are given control over their personal data and decide how it should be used.

Some of the big players do not want to see U.S. consumers given full authority over their data, which is a consumer digital asset -- whether the consumer is aware or not. The large players have been making billions of dollars off of personal data for a long time now, and creating a law that is prescriptive such as the CCPA or the GDPR in the EU can cause harm to the bottom line. These laws are being created to protect consumers, and although not all aspects are business-friendly, organizations should be able to find innovative ways to still use the personal data in a legal and ethical way that still enables their businesses.

Creating a national law that is less prescriptive will not be beneficial in the long run -- these laws have been needed for a long time now. I am hoping more privacy experts chime in on any proposed regulations and advocate for stronger consumer privacy.

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