Consumer Watchdog Backs Senate Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act

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SANTA MONICA, CA – Consumer Watchdog today backed the Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act, saying the legislation would require accountability and transparency for data brokers who collect and sell personal and sensitive information about consumers.

The bill, S. 668, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Edward J. Markey, (D-Ma.) Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.)

“The bill would shine a necessary light on the murky world of data brokers who profit by selling information about us we often don’t even know they have, hold them accountable and give consumers meaningful protection and control over their data,” said John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project director.

Read a copy of the bill here:

Other public interest groups supporting the bill besides Consumer Watchdog include US PIRG and the Center for Digital Democracy.

The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act would:

— Allow consumers to access and correct their information to help ensure maximum accuracy.

— Give consumers the right to stop data brokers from using, sharing, or selling their personal information for marketing purposes.

— Empower the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the law and promulgate rules within one year, including rules necessary to establish a centralized website for consumers to view a list of covered data brokers and information regarding consumer rights.

“Data brokers seem to believe that there is no such thing as privacy,” said Sen. Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

“I believe Americans have a fundamental right to privacy, including the right to determine whether information about their personal lives should be available for sale to the highest bidder,” said Sen. Franken, the top Democratic on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

“Consumers have little, if any, way of knowing what information is being stored or to whom it is being sold. This legislation safeguards personal privacy and security in our everyday lives,” Sen. Blumenthal said.

“This legislation would protect consumers by allowing them to take control of their personal information, while preventing data brokers from distributing or selling this data,” said Sen. Whitehouse.


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John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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