Data Brokers

WPF Strongly Endorses Centralized Data Broker Opt-Out Mechanism

Data Broker opt out — WPF, in 2011 comments to the FTC, urged the FTC to create a centralized place for consumers to opt-out of data broker tracking. This is a long-standing issue WPF has worked on. Previously, WPF filed a petition in 2009 to the FTC regarding mail-in data broker opt outs, which resulted in an FTC action and improvements for consumers. In its new report published today, the FTC has picked up WPF’s centralized opt out recommendation, specifically citing WPF’s comments. From its report: “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.” The WPF strongly supports this idea and views assistance to consumers in this area as vital.

FTC releases report: picks up two key WPF recommendations in report, numerous cites

The FTC’s new privacy report — a long -awaited planbook for privacy in the digital age – has picked up several key recommendations the WPF has made. First, the report picks up WPF’s direct recommendation in its 2011 comments that the FTC set up a centralized web site to allow consumers to opt out of data brokers. The FTC has directly called for this as a primary part of its report. The WPF strongly supports this. Pam Dixon of the WPF originated the Do Not Track idea in 2007, and with a group of privacy experts, submitted the original idea to the FTC that year. Now, DNT has also made it into the final FTC report.

Congressional Testimony: What’s a Consumer to Do? Consumer Perceptions and Expectations of Privacy Online

WPF executive director Pam Dixon testified at a joint subcommittee hearing focused on privacy and the collection and use of online and offline consumer information. Dixon’s testimony focused on the new “modern permanent record” and how it is used and created. Dixon said “The merging of offline and online data is creating highly personalized, granular profiles of consumers that affect consumers’ opportunities in the marketplace and in their lives. Consumers are largely unaware of these profiles and their consequences, and they have insufficient legal rights to change things even if they did know.” The testimony explored concrete examples of problematic consumer profiling activities.

Privacy News: WPF Complaint to FTC Results in Online Data Broker Settlements

Data Broker Settlement — In April 2009, the World Privacy Forum sent the FTC a complaint regarding a lack of online opt-outs for consumers at some online data broker web sites. Our complaint focused on the difficulties online consumers would have opting out of certain web sites. In our complaint, we noted that online consumers were having difficulties with the opt outs. Today the FTC issued a final decision in this matter, and specifically improved online opt outs for consumers at US Search.