Concrete Products

MAR 2016

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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14 • March 2016 www.concreteproducts.com The Federal Trade Commission has outlined a number of questions for businesses to con- sider in their use of big data analytics. "Big data's role is growing in nearly every area of business, affecting millions of consumers in concrete ways," says Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "The potential benefits to con- sumers are significant, but businesses must ensure that their big data use does not lead to harmful exclusion or discrimination." "Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclu- sion? Understanding the Issues" looks spe- cifically at big data at the end of its lifecy- cle—how it is used after being collected and analyzed, and draws on information from the FTC's 2014 "Big Data: A Tool for Inclusion or Exclusion?" workshop, plus extensive public comments and additional public research. The report highlights a number of innova- tive uses of big data that are providing ben- efits to underserved populations, access to credit through non-traditional methods, along with possible risks that could result from biases or inaccuracies about certain groups, including more individuals mistaken- ly denied opportunities based on the actions of others; exposing sensitive information; creating or reinforcing existing disparities; a s s i s t i n g i n the targeting of vulnerable consumers for fraud; creating higher prices for goods and services in low- er-income com- munities; and, weakening the e f f e c t i ve ne s s o f c o n s u m e r choice. The report outlines some of the vari- ous laws that apply to the use of big data, especially in regards to possible issues of discrimination or exclusion, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act, FTC Act and equal opportunity laws. It also provides a range of questions for businesses to consider when they examine whether their big data pro- grams comply with these laws. Four key poli- cy questions are drawn from research into the ways big data can both present and prevent harms. They are designed to help companies determine how best to maximize the benefit of their use of big data while limiting possi- ble harms by examining both practical ques- tions of accuracy and built-in bias, as well as whether the company's use of big data raises ethical or fairness concerns. DRUG TESTING SPECIALIST SETTLES AGENCY CHARGES Drug Testing Compliance Group, LLC, which provides drug and alcohol testing and other services to commercial trucking companies and their drivers, agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally invited one of its competitors to enter into a customer allocation agreement. According to an agency complaint, DTC Group President David Crossett informed the competitor that such an agreement would allow each compa- ny to sell its services to customers without fearing that its rival would later undercut it with a lower price offer. The proposed set- tlement prohibits DTC Group from a) com- municating with competitors about rates or prices; b) soliciting, entering into, or main- taining an agreement with any competitor to divide markets, allocate customers, or fix prices; and, c) urging any competitor to raise, fix, or maintain prices, or to limit or reduce service. — January 2016 Federal Trade Com- mission International Monthly GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AGENCIES Commission report offers businesses guidance on limits of big data use FUEL TAX CREDITS, CNG POWER PROGRESS Assessing recent actions on Capitol Hill, Newport Beach, Calif.-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. applauds passage of an alternative fuel tax credit supporting the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) in commercial trucking. The credit is retroactive to 2015 and extends through 2016. "The tax credit will support the continued expansion of natural gas fueling in the U.S., which will help to clean our air and keep dollars here," says Clean Energy CEO Andrew Littlefair. "We applaud Congress for taking this action and encourage the implementation of permanent mea- sures to encourage further use of this superior and cleaner fuel." The tax credit capped a success- ful 2015, he adds, as Clean Energy logged 68 CNG or LNG fueling station projects and saw 3,000- plus vehicles join its fueling network—despite sharp drops in diesel prices. Diesel price conditions are not lost on waste and refuse hauling, the heavy duty trucking seg- ment with the highest adoption of CNG power. Notes Solid Waste Association of North America Executive Director David Biderman, "One of the remarkable things that occurred [in 2015] is that despite the declining price of diesel, the purchase of natural gas fueled waste collection vehi- cles has remained steady as companies and local governments seek to reduce carbon footprint, emissions and costs." The new report is posted at www.ftc.gov.

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