The Federal Trade Commission is not taking privacy issues lightly in the cases of nine data brokers. The FTC has ordered Acxiom, Corelogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, Peekyou, Rapleaf and Recorded Future (News - Alert) to provide details related to sources from which information is procured, how the information is used and whether or not consumers have access to the data.
Politicians from both the right and the left are concerned about this issue with West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, Texas Republican Representative Joe Barton and Massachusetts Democratic Representative Ed Markey involved in the call for investigation of data brokerage. Broadcasting Cable.com notes that this has been an issue that the FTC (News - Alert) has been very involved with this year, calling for increased transparency earlier in 2012.
According to the FTC’s official website, it plans on using the information collected from the orders to make recommendations on whether or not data brokers need to improve their privacy practices and, if so, how they can do so. The orders were issued after a unanimous vote in its favor.
As things currently stand, consumer data is only required to remain private when it is used for credit, employment, insurance, housing, or “other similar purposes.” In a report issued in March of 2012, “Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers,” its primary recommendations were “privacy by design,” which involves building privacy into every stage of product development, providing consumers with the ability to make decisions about their data through such mechanisms as “Do Not Track,” and to make information collection practices and use practices transparent.
At this time, compliance with the framework outlined in their report is still voluntary. How the information provided by the nine companies will affect their recommendations and whether or not it will result in new legislation is yet to be seen.
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