Late last year, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) – chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee – released a report warning about the purported harms of data brokers and encouraging oversight from lawmakers.
Now, as long expected, Rockefeller has introduced legislation aimed at overseeing and regulating the data broker industry. He and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) have filed the Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act (the “DATA Act”), which would prohibit the use of deceptive means to gather data and give consumers the right to access their information at least once a year, at no cost. The Data Act would also give consumers the opportunity to correct errors in their record and the choice to opt-out from the collection and sale of their information for marketing purposes.
The DATA Act would grant the Federal Trade Commission enforcement authority and the power to impose civil penalties upon companies that violate it. FTC Commissioner Julie Brill has already declared her support for the proposed law.
A report by the Federal Trade Commission on the privacy and data collection practices of data brokers is still anticipated.
The Direct Marketing Association and the rest of the advertising industry will certainly lobby vigorously to prevent the DATA Act from advancing.