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ISPLA Update: More FTC Orders on Information Brokers

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  • Peter Psarouthakis
    FTC to Study Data Broker Industry s Collection and Use of Consumer Data Commission Issues Nine Orders for Information to Analyze Industry s Privacy Practices
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18 9:47 AM
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      FTC to Study Data Broker Industry's Collection and Use of Consumer Data

      Commission Issues Nine Orders for Information to Analyze Industry's Privacy

      The Federal Trade Commission
      <http://www.ftc.gov/os/2012/12/121218databrokerssection6border.pdf> issued
      orders requiring nine data brokerage companies to provide the agency with
      information about how they collect and use data about consumers. The agency
      will use the information to study privacy practices in the data broker

      Data brokers are companies that collect personal information about consumers
      from a variety of public and non-public sources and resell the information
      to other companies. In many ways, these data flows benefit consumers and
      the economy; for example, having this information about consumers enables
      companies to prevent fraud. Data brokers also provide data to enable their
      customers to better market their products and services.

      The nine data brokers receiving orders from the FTC are: 1) Acxiom, 2)
      Corelogic, 3) Datalogix, 4) eBureau, 5) ID Analytics, 6) Intelius, 7)
      Peekyou, 8) Rapleaf, and 9) Recorded Future. The FTC is seeking details

      * <http://us.mc1210.mail.yahoo.com/mc/PicExportError> the nature and
      sources of the consumer information the data brokers collect;

      * <http://us.mc1210.mail.yahoo.com/mc/PicExportError> how they use,
      maintain, and disseminate the information; and

      * <http://us.mc1210.mail.yahoo.com/mc/PicExportError> the extent to
      which the data brokers allow consumers to access and correct their
      information or to opt out of having their personal information sold.

      Earlier this year the FTC called on the data broker industry to improve the
      transparency of its practices as part of a Commission report,
      <http://ftc.gov/os/2012/03/120326privacyreport.pdf> Protecting Consumer
      Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and

      In the Privacy Report, the FTC set forth a voluntary framework of best
      practices for businesses based on the concepts of privacy by design,
      consumer control, and increased transparency for the collection and use of
      consumer data. The Report noted that while data brokers collect, maintain,
      and sell a wealth of information about consumers, they often do not interact
      directly with consumers. Rather, they get information from public records
      and purchase information from other companies.

      As a result, consumers are often unaware of the existence of data brokers as
      well as the purposes for which they collect and use consumers' data. This
      lack of transparency also means that even when data brokers offer consumers
      the ability to access their data, or provide other tools, many consumers do
      not know how to exercise this right. There are no current laws requiring
      data brokers to maintain the privacy of consumer data unless they use that
      data for credit, employment, insurance, housing, or other similar purposes.

      The FTC will use the responses it receives to prepare a study and to make
      recommendations on whether, and how, the data broker industry could improve
      its privacy practices. The Commission is authorized to issue Orders to File
      a Special Report by Section 6(b) of the FTC Act.

      ISPLA will continue to take steps to ensure that future regulations imposed
      upon information brokers to not extend to private investigators.

      Bruce Hulme, ISPLA Director of Government Affairs


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