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DMA Voices Concerns on FTC Call for Legislative Oversight of Data Brokers

11 Apr, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

WASHINGTON – As the marketing community continues to keep a close eye on recent recommendations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that data brokers offer consumers greater transparency into how data is collected and stored, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has voiced concerns that the FTC report’s suggestions may “cover too wide a swath of data practices,” according to media reports.

While the FTC report stopped short of calling for a new “Do-Not-Track” law, it did suggest companies handling consumer data implement recommendations for protecting privacy, laying much of the responsibility on data brokers (Response This Week, March 28).

“(The) DMA actively supports national security legislation, but that is different from privacy legislation and from the data broker things the FTC is talking about,” Linda Woolley, the DMA’s executive vice president of Washington operations, said in a Chief Marketer report. “I defy the FTC to show me where the harm is. It is a perception of harm, a perception of intrusion. We are talking about data used for marketing purposes – not data used for whether you should get insurance, or a loan, or employment.”

Woolley cites a number of additional concerns over the FTC report, including the cost and security measures related to a system allowing consumers to review information within data brokerages, as well as the broad definition of data broker itself, according to Chief Marketer.

The FTC has said the “industry has made significant process.”

“If companies adopt our final recommendations for best practices – and many of them already have – they will be able to innovate and deliver creative new services that consumers can enjoy without sacrificing their privacy,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “We are confident that consumers will have an easy to use and effective Do-Not-Track option by the end of the year because companies are moving forward expeditiously to make it happen and because lawmakers will want to enact legislation if they don’t.”

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