Lawmaker plans to introduce data broker bill to ensure accountability, transparency for consumers

Washington (February 27, 2015) – In the wake of today’s release of a draft “Privacy Bill of Rights” from the White House, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) plans to introduce legislation to require accountability and transparency for data brokers who are collecting and selling personal and sensitive information about consumers. In the last Congress, Senators Markey and John D. Rockefeller, former chairman of the Commerce Committee, introduced theData Broker Accountability and Transparency Act to protect financial, health and other personal consumer information being collected and sold by the data broker industry.

“While this proposal from the White House focuses attention on the need for strengthening the privacy rights of Americans, it falls far short of what is needed to ensure consumers and families are squarely in control of their personal data,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Instead of codes of conduct developed by industries that have historically been opposed to strong privacy measures, we need uniform and legally-enforceable rules that companies must abide by and consumers can rely upon. We didn’t celebrate a great victory yesterday in the fight to protect the Internet for American consumers just to turn around and enable their online information to be easy prey for digital bandits seeking to pilfer Americans’ personal information.


“I am concerned that this proposal includes a provision that could preempt strong state laws that already are protecting the privacy rights of consumers. And I am especially concerned that companies and data brokers could be able to deny consumers the right to say no to selling their sensitive information for marketing purposes. Next week, I will introduce legislation that will allow consumers to access and correct their information to help ensure maximum accuracy. The bill also provides consumers with the right to stop data brokers from using, sharing, or selling their personal information for marketing purposes.  We need to put in place a system of rules that puts consumers in control of their information, not corporate interests and data repears. I am committed to working with the White House and my Congressional colleagues to pass the strongest privacy legislation to protect American consumers.”