In an attempt to find out how data brokerage companies work and operate, the Federal Trade Commission has ordered data brokers in the U.S. to reveal to the agency how they harvest and use data on consumers. Around nine data brokerage companies were enlisted including Acxiom, Corelogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, Peekyou, Rapleaf, and Recorded Future. The FTC is planning to use the gathered information to study the industry’s privacy practices.
Under the law, data brokers are not required to disclose the information that they have collected to consumers. Additionally, the FTC also wants to know what these brokers usually do with the information that they get, and if, in particular, they allow consumers to review and correct their personal information or choose not to sell personal information. Such is the case in June this year, when the FTC took action against a data broker, who illegally sold personal information for employment screening.
“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,” said the FTC in a statement.