FTC Takes a Closer Look at Data Broker Industry’s Collection & Use of Consumer Data

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Earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued orders requiring nine separate data brokerage companies to provide the FTC with information about how they collect, use, share and sell consumer data.  The FTC has stated that it will use the information gathered from these nine brokerage companies to study privacy practices in the data broker industry.

The nine data brokers receiving orders are:  (1) Acxiom; (2) Corelogic; (3) Datalogix; (4) eBureau; (5) ID Analytics; (6) Intelius; (7) Peekyou; (8) Rapleaf; and (9) Recorded Future.

According to the FTC’s website, the FTC is seeking details about:

–        the nature and sources of the consumer information the data brokers collect;

–        how they use, maintain, and disseminate the information; and

–        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.

This action comes after the FTC issued the report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers earlier this year in an effort to establish voluntary guidelines aimed at improving transparency and consumer choices in connection with data collection and usage.  The FTC has stated that it will use the information gathered from the aforementioned brokerage companies to make further recommendations along the lines of the report referenced above.

Given this development, data brokers (and any entity that collects and shares consumer information with third parties) should immediately review their data collection, usage, sharing, sale and broader privacy practices and seek to ensure compliance with the FTC’s report and additional guidance.  Entities that fail to comply with the FTC’s guidance could find themselves facing regulatory action from the FTC itself, as well as numerous state attorneys general and other regulatory bodies.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic or need to review your privacy practices and/or update your website (or mobile App) privacy policies based on the FTC’s guidance, please contact us at your convenience.

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