PIRG and CDD’s comments to the CFPB on data broker dangers

Why the CFPB should take action to rein in data brokers

Data brokers are shadowy companies that gather and sell lots of data about users - including you. Data broker dangers are significant. It's time for regulatory action.

An illustration of a laptop screen with a warning alert
Darwin Laganzon | Pixabay.com
Protecting your information online has never been more important.

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Companies like data brokers gather huge amounts of data on Americans – like every website we visit, purchase we make, and web search we conduct. There’s a huge market for our personal data and companies sell what they know about us to advertisers – and anyone else looking to buy.

There are no real rules regulating the collecting, buying and selling of Americans’ data, leaving us vulnerable to identity thieves, hackers, scammers and manipulative advertisers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau could change that.

The agency issued a request for information about these shadowy companies and how their business model affects consumers’ financial health. We joined our friends at Center for Digital Democracy in sharing our concerns.

Read our full comments here


R.J. Cross

Director, Don't Sell My Data Campaign, PIRG

R.J. focuses on data privacy issues and the commercialization of personal data in the digital age. Her work ranges from consumer harms like scams and data breaches, to manipulative targeted advertising, to keeping kids safe online. In her work at Frontier Group, she has authored research reports on government transparency, consumer debt and predatory auto lending, and has testified before Congress. Her work has appeared in WIRED magazine, CBS Mornings and USA Today, among other outlets. When she’s not protecting the public interest, she is an avid reader, fiction writer and birder. Though she lives in Boston, she will always consider herself a Kansan at heart.

Ed Mierzwinski

Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program, PIRG

Ed oversees U.S. PIRG’s federal consumer program, helping to lead national efforts to improve consumer credit reporting laws, identity theft protections, product safety regulations and more. Ed is co-founder and continuing leader of the coalition, Americans For Financial Reform, which fought for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, including as its centerpiece the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He was awarded the Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award in 2006, Privacy International's Brandeis Award in 2003, and numerous annual "Top Lobbyist" awards from The Hill and other outlets. Ed lives in Virginia, and on weekends he enjoys biking with friends on the many local bicycle trails.

Bess Pierre

Intern, Don't Sell My Data campaign

Bess is an intern on the Don't Sell My Data campaign.

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