The business of buying and selling consumer data is so vast and murky that Congress needs to pass a law regulating it, said Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
“This is an industry that largely operates in the dark,” Ramirez told reporters today on a conference call. “We want to shed the veil of secrecy that surrounds data broker practices.”
Most consumers don’t know about data brokers, but the brokers sure know about them. Data brokers, like the nine studied in the FTC report published today, get information about consumers from the offline world: retailers, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and real property records. Increasingly, that data gets combined with online information collected via cookies, which provide details about what sites a person visits and what type of online information is being sought out.
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