Recommendations Regarding Data Brokers

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2012-03-26 Print this article Print


Regarding data brokers, the FTC is following through with a recommendation it made in December 2010 to give consumers access to the information that is being collected. The commission also wants data brokers to create a Website where the data is centralized, and consumers could find out what options they have regarding controlling the use of that data.

For the agency itself, the commissioners laid out several areas that they will focus on over the next year, including Do Not Track efforts. Companies already have made good efforts in this area, they said, as have such bodies as the Digital Advertising Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium.

In the mobile space, the FTC wants any companies offering mobile services to improve privacy protections, including making privacy disclosures shorter and more effective for consumers who now have to deal with lengthy, small-type disclosures on their small screens.

The commissioners plan to push data brokers on the idea of the centralized Website for personal information that€™s been collected, and will work with large platform providers€”such as Internet service providers, social media companies, operating system creators and browser developers€”to develop policies around comprehensive tracking. The FTC also will work with the Department of Commerce and players in the tech industry to develop industry-specific codes of conduct. As a sort of carrot-and-stick approach, the FTC suggested that a company€™s adherence to the codes could help it if it gets in trouble with the FTC. Those companies that sign on to the codes but violate them could face FTC legal action.

The Consumer Watchdog consumer advocacy organization applauded the FTC€™s efforts behind Do Not Track, as well as the commission€™s efforts to rein in data brokers.

€œData brokers buy, compile and sell a wealth of highly personal information about you, but there€™s no way to find out what they have or if it€™s correct,€ John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog€™s Privacy Project, said in a statement. €œThat€™s why the FTC€™s call for legislation in this area is so important.€ 



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