STOP DATA BROKER ABUSE
Data brokers have a staggering reach into the most private corners of our lives. Large data brokers possess detailed information on more than two-thirds of U.S. residents, tracking where we go, who we know, and what we do each day. Companies many of us have never heard of, like Acxiom and RELX, amass billions of personal records from thousands of different places and update them in real time. In the words of former Federal Trade Commissioner Edith Ramirez, today’s data brokers “often know as much—or even more—about us than our family and friends.”
But there’s reason for hope. In March 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched an inquiry into the business practices of data brokers, with the goal of creating rules to protect consumers from data brokers’ practices. The CFPB is collecting information about how data brokers operate, the harms they cause, and whether they honor requests to access or delete a consumer’s personal information. To ensure the CFPB develops the strongest rules possible, they need to hear from you.
TELL THE CFPB HOW DATA BROKERS AFFECT YOU
The CFPB wants to hear from you—submit a comment using the form below to let them know how data brokers have impacted you. It is very important to add your own thoughts, personal stories and insights to help make a difference!
TAKE FURTHER ACTION
You can do even more to make a change and stop the abusive practices of data brokers.
Write to request your personal information from data brokers
This will open a new email in your browser’s default mail handler.
For your convenience, here are some links to compose your message in popular email services:
Do not submit this personal information directly to brokers if you believe you are at additional risk by disclosing this information.
You can learn what data brokers know about you and ask them to remove it. If you hear back, come back to the page to let the CFPB know how this went. You may be asked to provide further information to confirm who you are. (If a broker asks you to provide information you don’t want to share, you can simply end the process and report what happened below)
We’ll follow up with you to see how this process goes. If you don’t hear back, you can report that too—the CFPB will be interested in hearing that data brokers treat consumers with silence.
Heard back? Report the interaction to the CFPB
What is a data broker?
A data broker is an entity that collects, curates, and sells data as part of their business model. Data brokers operate nearly entirely under the surface in a largely unregulated environment, selling datasets that allow companies and law enforcement agencies to target individual people or a group of people. It is often unclear where they obtain data from, what information they have about a given person, and how exactly our data is used. But we see evidence of the harms they cause every day:
- A priest was outed and forced to resign because of the sale of his location data.
- A domestic violence victim’s address was available for sale online.
- Law enforcement officials routinely skirt Fourth Amendment protections by purchasing personal information directly from data brokers.
What is the CFPB and what are they doing around data brokers?
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a consumer protection enforcement agency that was created in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis. In their own words, they are an “agency dedicated to making sure you are treated fairly by banks, lenders and other financial institutions.” The CFPB is doing a study on data brokers, what impact they have on consumers, what laws and rules apply to them, and how they can and should be regulated, including under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This law governs credit reporting agencies, tenant screeners and similar companies, and could be useful in regulating certain data brokers
This campaign is supported by: