Joe Barton

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

Two days ago,'s "Red Tape Chronicles" used Instagram's recent policy change as a chance to attack marketing data providers. Click through to the story to read more: "Instagram's abrupt change of terms this week created a predictable Internet chatter bomb, as Web users erupted in anger that the firm might violate their privacy and property rights. Sadly, there is no such outrage at companies which buy and sell our privacy as their business model—and much less interest in promising efforts to rein them in. What do they

Eight Congressmen yesterday sent a written inquiry to Google Inc. seeking information about the company’s revised privacy policy. The revised policy, which will be introduced in March, makes clear that the search giant is monitoring a consumer’s actions across various Google products so that it can better target ads at consumers across multiple web-enabled devices. “While Google suggests that the purpose of this shift in policy is to make the consumer experience simpler, we want to make sure it does not make protecting consumer privacy more complicated,”

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today expressed strong concerns with the discussion draft of a “Do Not Track Kids Act” released by Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX).  The DMA described the draft bill, which would significantly change the standard set in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), as unnecessary and “off track.”

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