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FTC warns data brokers of possible privacy violations

10 companies appeared to give out consumer data without complying with federal privacy laws

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has put data brokers on notice, with a series of letters alerting 10 companies that they may be running afoul of federal privacy law.

Posing as individuals or representatives of various companies, FTC staff members called 45 brokers and asked for consumer information, purportedly as part of credit, insurance eligibility or employment checks. Data brokers that collect, distribute or sell consumer data constitute consumer reporting agencies under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). As such, they must reasonably verify the identity of organizations seeking information about consumers.

Ten of the 45 companies, however, appeared not to comply with these rules when volunteering consumer information. The companies that received letters included, Brokers Data Inc., Case Breakers Inc., Exact Data ConsumerBase,,, U.S. Information Search, USA People Search, US Data Corp. and one unnamed organization.

The FTC noted that the letters do not mean that the companies in question are under investigation. “Instead,” the agency said, “they serve to remind the companies to evaluate their practices to determine whether they are consumer reporting agencies, and if so, how to comply with that law.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of privacy issues, see:

GCs predict increase in consumer fraud and privacy class actions

New FTC recommendations target mobile privacy concerns

Google owns up to privacy violations in Street View settlement

Regulatory: Drafting and reviewing your privacy policy

Hiring law firm in wake of data breach gives companies the secrecy of privilege


Alanna Byrne

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