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EFF – Data Broker Acxiom Launches Transparency Tool, But Consumers Still Lack Control

EFF: “Acxiom, a data broker that collects 1,500 data points per person on over 700 million consumers total and sells analysis of such information, is trying to ward off federal privacy regulations by flaunting transparency—a diluted term, in this case—around user data. The company just launched, a site that will let users see and edit some information that Acxiom has about them—only “some,” since Acxiom’s analytics reveal far more information about you (living habits and personal preferences) that isn’t readily available to you, but is sold to partner companies. Everyone should be deeply concerned about data brokers. These companies are scavengers for very personal data, amassing details about everything from “major life events” (like a wedding or a baby) to your browsing history and shopping habits, and they have even begun exploring business relationships with social media giants like Facebook and Twitter. And once this data is collected, it’s a small step away from government agencies and law enforcement. (There was hubbub around Acxiom and travel information, which the government collected and inadvertently shared.) ACLU has an excellent breakdown of Acxiom after the company released operational details in response to a Congressional inquiry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an in-depth investigation into data brokers to see what information they gather and how it is used. Commissioner Julie Brill recently wrote an op-ed demanding transparency around what user data is being collected through a voluntary “Reclaim Your Name” campaign.”

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