Thursday, May 9, 2013

FTC Keeps Data Brokers in Regulatory Crosshairs

Federal officials are keeping the data brokerage industry in their regulatory crosshairs, and another warning shot has been fired. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just issued formal letters to 10 companies, alerting them that they may be violating federal restrictions on the collection and sale of consumers' personal information, reported The Washington Post. The targeted data brokers ranged from firms that compile consumer lists for credit offers to a website helping parents screen potential nannies. The list also includes well-known names in the direct marketing business. The FTC letters follow a broader inquiry into 45 data brokers appearing to market information whose use is restricted by the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which regulates how private companies can use personal information. Individuals are supposed to know when data reports affect their eligibility for insurance, credit or employment, and they are supposed to have the opportunity to correct errors. The FTC last year urged Congress to pass a law forcing the data brokerage industry to disclose its practices. The Post could not confirm whether any of the data brokers receiving letters face a full FTC investigation. Letter recipients were 4Nannies, Brokers Data, Case Breakers, ConsumerBase,, People Search Now, U.S. Information Search, US Data Corporation and USA People Search. The story did not name the tenth pending confirmation. For more, see the news story at

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