Trend to Watch in 2012: Reining In Data Brokers

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As 2012 drew to a close, two federal agencies made it clear that they intended to continue their focus on web-based information providers—so-called “data brokers”. On December 14, 2012, The FTC issued orders for information from nine companies to provide the FTC with information about how they collect and use data about consumers. The agency will use the information to make recommendations about the accuracy, collection and use of the information.On November 29, 2012, the CFPB flexed some muscle by issuing a bulletin to nationwide specialty consumer reporting agencies (NSCRAs) reminding them of their obligation under the FCRA to provide consumers with free annual consumer report. The CFPB’s enforcement team issued warning letters to several NSCRAs, urging them to review practices and procedures to ensure compliance. Regulators have made it crystal clear that they want greater accuracy and transparency in data collection and use practices, and they want greater consumer control over their information.

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