Tomorrow the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing entitled, “What Information Do Data Brokers Have on Consumers, and How Do They Use It?”  According to Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), the Committee will “examine the data broker industry and how industry practices may impact consumers.”  The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:

  • Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection
  • Pam Dixon, Executive Director of the World Privacy Forum
  • Dr. Joseph Turow, Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication
  • Tony Hadley, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Experian
  • Jerry Cerasale, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy for the Direct Marketing Association

The hearing is part of a more than year-long effort by Chairman Rockefeller to investigate the data broker industry.   In October 2012, Chairman Rockefeller launched an investigation into the business practices of data brokers in order to examine how data brokers collect, compile, and sell consumer information for marketing purposes.  Since September, Chairman Rockefeller has expanded his investigation by sending additional inquiries to various websites and other companies that collect personal information from both online and offline sources and then sell the data to other businesses.

Wednesday’s hearing also comes on the heels of regulatory activity relating to the data broker industry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) each have said that they are paying attention to data brokers. For example, in its March 2012 report, the FTC called on data brokers to increase transparency with respect to and provide consumers greater control over personal data. It also recommended Congress adopt targeted legislation.

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Photo of Libbie Canter Libbie Canter

Libbie Canter represents a wide variety of multinational companies on privacy, cyber security, and technology transaction issues, including helping clients with their most complex privacy challenges and the development of governance frameworks and processes to comply with global privacy laws. She routinely supports…

Libbie Canter represents a wide variety of multinational companies on privacy, cyber security, and technology transaction issues, including helping clients with their most complex privacy challenges and the development of governance frameworks and processes to comply with global privacy laws. She routinely supports clients on their efforts to launch new products and services involving emerging technologies, and she has assisted dozens of clients with their efforts to prepare for and comply with federal and state privacy laws, including the California Consumer Privacy Act and California Privacy Rights Act.

Libbie represents clients across industries, but she also has deep expertise in advising clients in highly-regulated sectors, including financial services and digital health companies. She counsels these companies — and their technology and advertising partners — on how to address legacy regulatory issues and the cutting edge issues that have emerged with industry innovations and data collaborations.