February 12th, 2014
Senators Introduce Bill to Regulate Data Collection
By Katy Bachman
Sets the stage for pushback from the ad industry
Commerce chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have introduced a bill to lift the “veil of secrecy” behind data broker data collection practices, making good on a promise Rockefeller made during a commerce hearing last year. The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, would give consumers the right to access and correct their information or opt-out of having it collected and sold by data brokers for marketing purposes.
The bill would also give the Federal Trade Commission new authority to enforce the law and impose civil penalties on data brokers that violate consumer privacy and trust.
The data broker business has become a big target in Washington for collecting huge amounts of information about individuals--from the car they drive to the number of children they have to the size and status of their mortgage. But most people don’t even know data brokers exist, let alone how their data is being sold to target ads and other marketing pitches both offline and online.