Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 15, 2020


Many Americans, if asked how data impacts them personally, would likely point to the convenience of social media, email, and online sales. But the societal benefits of data are manifold—and growing by the day. Understanding how data fosters economic opportunity, innovation, and a better quality of life is necessary to inform smart policymaking on issues like data privacy and security.

To highlight the unexpected ways that data enriches our daily lives, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with PERC Solutions, published Data for Good: Promoting Safety, Health, and Inclusion. The report outlines five main areas where innovators are leveraging data-driven technologies to create a better world.

First, consider how data is strengthening fraud prevention and security. New data-driven tools are empowering businesses to detect and prevent online fraud as well as authenticate online transactions.

Second, data is expanding financial inclusion. Data-oriented solutions such as credit scoring and automated underwriting are improving lending, reducing origination costs, and increasing financial inclusion.

Third, data is bolstering economic development. Digital platforms are enabling small businesses to have an online presence and connect with their customers, while payment-processing companies are helping small businesses increase their sales.

Fourth, data is supporting better public health. Doctors are increasingly turning to data to improve the quality of care they deliver. In the future, access to tools that use “societal determinants of health” could enable physicians to better identify patient risk factors, leading to more accurate diagnoses and better treatment overall.

Fifth, data is driving new developments in artificial intelligence (AI). AI is providing new ways to combat human trafficking, fight wildfires, and connect people to mental health services—and it’s all powered by data. Entrepreneurs are also using AI to improve the lives of people with disabilities and help underserved communities obtain access to credit.

The evidence is clear. Data is a force for good in our society, and it’s critical that lawmakers recognize this—especially as they weigh federal data privacy legislation. A well-thought-out national standard for privacy and security is vital to promoting life-improving technology. To that end, the Chamber is pushing for a national data privacy framework that strikes the right balance between protecting consumer data and advancing innovation.

To ensure that we reap the full benefits of the data revolution, the Chamber will continue to educate both public- and private-sector leaders on the myriad ways this digital resource is changing our lives for the better.

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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