FTC to Study How Data Brokers Gather and Use Personal Information

By Teresa Anderson

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched a study on privacy practices in the data broker industry. The FTC has ordered nine data brokers to provide the agency with information on how the companies gather and use personal information.

Data brokers collect information about individuals from a variety of sources and then offer that information to other companies or to individuals. The data is then used in marketing, advertising, and in investigations.

Under the order, the nine data brokers will provide the FTC with details about the “nature and sources of the consumer information” collected, how the companies “use, maintain, and disseminate” information, and the “extent to which the data brokers allow consumers to access and correct their information.”

After studying the material, the FTC will report on the findings and make recommendations as to how data brokers could improve their privacy practices.

Last year, the FTC issued a report, Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: Recommendations for Businesses and Policymakers, that urged data brokers to improve privacy protection. That report also set out best practices for issues such as transparency, consumer input, and the collection and use of personal information.

photo by woodleywonderworks/flickr


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