Time To Regulate Big Data

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The Federal Trade Commission recommended the creation of a website that would provide us with the information we need to find out what data is being collected about us, where it came from and how to opt out entirely.

“Right now consumers have very little information, to the extent that they know at all, that these activities are taking place,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a conference call Tuesday.

Currently, data brokers scour public records, track the stores you shop at and the websites you browse (among other things) to collect your information and create consumer profiles.

The brokers then sell this information to marketers, retailers, banks and other companies so they can better target you for promotional offers, new products and other sales efforts.

The multi-billion dollar data broker industry has come under increased scrutiny in recent years by privacy advocates, federal regulators and lawmakers who say the process needs to be more transparent.

The FTC has found that many data firms operate “behind the scenes,” buying and selling massive amounts of data, typically without our knowledge.

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