Merging and Exchanging Consumer Data
The Information Marketplace: Merging and Exchanging Consumer Data
AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission
In reports to Congress, the Commission examined the practices of third-party Internet advertising networks engaged in “online profiling” activities. These entities collect information about consumers as they surf across web sites to create detailed profiles which include information about consumers’ surfing habits, and other personal and non-personal information, for the purpose of sending targeted online advertising messages to individual consumers.
Now, the Commission proposes to explore how detailed consumer profiles – i.e., compilations of identifying information, preference information, purchasing habits, and other information relating to a particular consumer – are created and used by entities other than third-party Internet advertising networks. In particular, the Commission plans to consider whether and how consumer profiles are created through the merger and exchange of data between companies, regardless of whether the data at issue is collected or used online or offline, and how such profiles are used commercially. The goal of the upcoming workshop is to educate the Commission and the public about current business practices and emerging technologies.
Questions To Be Addressed
Among the questions that need to be addressed are the following:
What kinds of consumer information do businesses purchase, sell or exchange to create profiles and what are the sources of that information?
Are there new technologies or technical standards that may increase the sharing of detailed consumer information and do they include or facilitate privacy protections?
How does the merger and exchange of detailed consumer data between companies affect consumers?
What types of notice have businesses provided to consumers regarding various kinds of data merger and exchange activities?
What business purposes are served by the creation of consumer profiles through the merger of a company’s internal information about consumers with information obtained from third-parties?