FTC Investigating Data Brokers

Will Use Info to Decide What, If Anything, to Do About Collection
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The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the business practices of nine data brokers for how they collect and use data from consumers.

The FTC said Tuesday it would use the info to study privacy practices in the data broker business, which is also getting a spotlight on Capitol Hill from Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

The brokers who have received data orders -- FTC is not calling them requests -- are Acxiom, Corelogic, Datalogix, eBureau, ID Analytics, Intelius, Peekyou, Rapleaf and Recorded Future.

The FTC earlier this year called on data brokers to improve transparency about their practices. "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 said Tuesday in putting its exclamation point on that request via the investigation.

In October, Sen. Rockefeller asked for info from his own list of data brokers including Reed-Elsevier, Experian and Spokeo. In addition, and Markey and Barton, cochairs of the congressional privacy caucus, did the same for their own, separate list.