Senate Commerce Committee Expands Data Broker Inquiry

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On February 3, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) again expanded his investigation of data brokers when he asked six brokers for information on the compilation and sale of products that identify consumers based on their financial vulnerability or health status. The issue was raised recently in a majority staff report, which was released in connection with a December 2013 committee hearing. The Chairman cited “serious concerns regarding the sale and dissemination of lists identifying a consumer’s fragile health or financial circumstances without the consumer’s knowledge or permission,” which Mr. Rockefeller believes can be used by businesses seeking to target vulnerable customers for financially risky lending products or fraud schemes. The Chairman seeks a broad range of information about the companies’ data collection and sales practices conducted over a five year period. The letters are the latest in an ongoing review by the Committee, which previously expanded the scope of the review in September 2013.

 

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