Attorney General Paxton has joined a Massachusetts-led multistate comment letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conveying the need for stronger privacy protections related to commercial surveillance and data security.  

In the letter, Paxton specifically identifies location data, biometric data, and medical data as areas of significant vulnerability without increased safeguards. The letter also identifies “data brokers” as large-scale threats to American citizens’ privacy in the digital age. These brokers are massive corporate entities that quietly collect and sell the data of millions of consumers without their knowledge or consent.    

To decrease the threat of the ever-growing surveillance economy, new and aggressive data minimization efforts must be considered and adopted, the letter argues. Such policies would ensure companies have a legal obligation to limit the constant and overly invasive collection and retention of consumer data.  

The letter notes that more concrete protections are needed to address the fears of the American people: “Many consumers believe that tracking by companies is inevitable, yet often do not even know what is being recorded. These fears intensify when they learn more about the commercial surveillance economy, and in particular consumers fear falling victim to identity theft and data misuse. . . . Our submission highlights the heightened sensitivity of certain categories of consumer information, the dilemma of data brokers and how they surveil consumers, and how data minimization can help mitigate concerns surrounding data aggregation.”  

To read the full letter, click here.