David Jacobs

Privacy advocates and trade groups are clashing over how to build consumer protections into the fast-growing data broker industry as they await the results of two long-running investigations that could shape Washington’s approach to the sector. Both the Federal Trade Commission and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee launched studies of data brokers last year, seeking information about how the firms operate and do business. The reviews, which are ongoing, have targeted companies including Acxiom, Experian and Datalogix, which collect information about people from sources online and offline and sell it to other businesses

Facebook’s move to allow marketers to import consumer lists obtained through data broker companies, announced on Wednesday, met with substantial concern from privacy advocates due to the amount of data the companies hold on consumers. Facebook said it would expand its custom audiences tool to allow advertisers to use data obtained through the data brokers Acxiom, BlueKai, Datalogix and Epsilon to market to specific users on its platform. Many large advertising platforms were already allowing marketers to use lists provided by data brokers. But Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, still felt that Facebook’s move

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