the privacy implications of data brokers’ practices.
Following a Commission workshop, the data broker
industry created the Individual References Services Group (IRSG), a self-regulatory organization for certain
Although industry ultimately terminated this organization, a series of public breaches –
including one involving ChoicePoint – led to renewed scrutiny of the practices of data brokers.
indeed, there have been few broad-based eﬀorts to implement self-regulation in this area in the recent past.
周e access rights discussed above will help to improve the transparency of companies’ data practices
generally, whether or not they have a direct consumer interface. Because most data brokers are invisible to
consumers, however, the Commission makes two additional recommendations as to these entities.
First, since 2009, the Commission has supported legislation giving access rights to consumers for
information held by data brokers. During the 111th Congress, the House approved a bill that included
provisions to establish a procedure for consumers to access information held by data brokers.
the transparency of this industry’s practices, the Commission has testiﬁed in support of the goals of this
and continues to support legislation in this area.
Second, the Commission recommends that the data broker industry explore the idea of creating a
centralized website where data brokers that compile and sell data for marketing could identify themselves to
consumers and describe how they collect consumer data and disclose the types of companies to which they
sell the information. Additionally, data brokers could use the website to explain the access rights and other
choices they oﬀer consumers, and could oﬀer links to their own sites where consumers could exercise such
周is website will improve transparency and give consumers control over the data practices of
companies that maintain and share data about them for marketing purposes. It can also provide consumer-
facing entities such as retailers a means for ensuring that the information brokers from which they purchase
“enhancement” information have instituted appropriate transparency and control mechanisms. Indeed, the
345 See, e.g., Prepared Statement of the FTC, Identity 周eft: Recent Developments Involving the Security of Sensitive Consumer
Information: Hearing Before the Senate Comm. on Banking, Housing, and Urban Aﬀairs, 109th Cong. (Mar. 10, 2005),
available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/testimony/050310idtheft.pdf; see also FTC Workshop, 周e Information Marketplace:
Merging & Exchanging Consumer Data (Mar. 13, 2001), available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/infomktplace/index.
shtml; FTC Workshop, Information Flows: 周e Costs and Beneﬁts to Consumers and Businesses of the Collection and Use of
Consumer Information (June 18, 2003), available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/workshops/infoﬂows/030618agenda.shtm.
346 See FTC, Individual Reference Services, A Report to Congress (1997), available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/privacy/wkshp97/
347 See Prepared Statement of the FTC, Protecting Consumers’ Data: Policy Issues Raised by ChoicePoint: Hearing before H. Comm.
on Energy and Commerce, Subcomm. on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Comm. on Energy and Commerce, 109th
Cong. (Mar. 15, 2005), available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2005/03/050315protectingconsumerdata.pdf.
348 Data Accountability and Trust Act, H.R. 2221, 111th Congress (as passed by House, Dec. 8, 2009).
349 See, e.g., Prepared Statement of the FTC, Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2221, the Data Accountability and Protection
Act, and H.R. 1319, the Informed P2P User Act: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Energy and Commerce, Subcomm. on
Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, 111th Cong. (May 5, 2009), available at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2009/05/
350 See, e.g., Prepared Statement of the FTC, Data Security: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Energy and Commerce, Subcomm.
on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, 112th Cong. (May 4, 2011), available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/05/
pdf/110504datasecurityhouse.pdf; Prepared Statement of the FTC, Data Security: Hearing Before the H. Comm. on Energy
and Commerce, Subcomm. on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, 112th Cong.(June 15, 2011), available at http://www.ftc.
gov/os/testimony/110615datasecurityhouse.pdf; Prepared Statement of the FTC, Protecting Consumers in the Modern World:
Hearing Before the S. Comm. on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, 112th Cong. (June 29, 2011), available at http://www.
351 See Comment of World Privacy Forum, cmt. #00376, at 6; Comment of Consumer Federation of America, cmt. #00358, at 17-18.