DMA Criticizes Senate Proposal To Curb Data Brokers

Data brokers will have to allow people to opt out of having information about themselves collected and sold for marketing purposes, if a bill unveiled this week in the Senate becomes law.

The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, introduced by Sens. Jay Rockefeller IV (D.-W.Va.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), aims to impose restrictions on how data brokers collect and manage information about consumers. The bill prohibits data brokers from tricking people into providing information. It also gives consumers the right to correct mistakes in their data and opt out of the use of their data for marketing purposes.

“The data broker industry has for too longer operated in the shadows, compiling dossiers on millions of Americans” Markey said in a statement. “It is time to shine a light on this industry, and Chairman Rockefeller’s legislation helps put in place a system of rules that puts consumers in control of their information.”

The Direct Marketing Association says it opposes the bill. “Unnecessary legislation that stops the responsible exchange of data would hurt consumers by limiting choices and raising prices” the group said in a statement this week.

The DMA has previously expressed concerns that any attempt to regulate data brokers would affect a wide swath of companies. The bill itself defines data brokers as companies that collect personal information about people who are not customers,  in order to sell that data to other companies.

The bill comes about two months after Rockefeller slammed the data broker industry at a hearing. At the time the lawmaker said he was “revolted” when data brokers offer to sell lists of vulnerable groups, like “genetic disease sufferers,” or “payday loan responders.” Such classifications he said, “seem tailor made to businesses that seek to take advantage of consumers.”

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1 comment about "DMA Criticizes Senate Proposal To Curb Data Brokers".
  1. David Carlick from Carlick , February 15, 2014 at 1:53 a.m.
    We can argue to the end of time whether being able to target 'payday loan responders' is a benefit to the consumer who gets offers that match their implied or expressed needs, or is an exploitation of the weak. On the good side of this, there are companies with products that help these people, and on the bad side, there are companies with products that exploit them. If you cut out the information connection, you cut out both the good guys and the bad guys, and I am of the opinion that is a net harm to the consumer. That said, I do think the consumer should have ownership of their data, and some economic say in the rental fees for that data.