29 November 2015

Identity Theft Expert

Robert Siciliano - IDTheftSecurity.com

663Posts 1,619,014Views 62Comments

Data Brokers: Walking the Tightrope

10 June 2014  |  938 views  |  0

Never mind the government nosing in on your business; there’s a much bigger snooper out there that’s mining to your personal data: thousands of companies whose names you may not even know.


These “data brokers” aren’t “bad”, although a few are irresponsible. They collect and analyze your very personal information, then package it up and sell it for profit to advertisers and the government. Though this rather benign consumer marketing is nothing new, the volume and type of data has changed, thanks to the Internet, making data broking a multibillion dollar venture.

Today’s technology allows data brokers to snatch and sell information about your closest friends, medical conditions, unsavory habits, even your literal footsteps—online and offline.

Data brokers today will classify people into groups such as those with genetic diseases or poverty. These are called vulnerable consumers, with classification names such as Ethnic Second-City Strugglers.

As for medical conditions, there are classifications for particular diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and cancer. There is no legislation that regulates any of this mining into our most private information.

Surprisingly, some of these companies are also in the business of offering identity protection services to consumers.

It’s not known just where the bigger data brokers even harvest their information or to whom they are selling it.

Maybe this is because they consider their client list to be proprietary. One broker even stated that it purchases lists of financially vulnerable people from government agencies so that ultimately, those who are eligible for assistance can be identified. These government clients are public record, said the broker.

The FTC consumer protection head believes that data brokers should be required to allow consumers access to the data that’s been scooped up about them. Meanwhile, data brokers records have become attractive to criminals. Ever since the ChoicePoint breach there have been multiple info/data brokers compromised.

When considering who you choose to do business with, relationships with data brokers, especially any who are also involved with protecting your customers’ identities, should be reassessed.



Comments: (0)

Comment on this story (membership required)
Log in to receive notifications when someone posts a comment

Latest posts from Robert

How to pwn Anyone

19 hours ago  |  812 views  |  0  |  Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

Nineways to shop safely on Cyber Monday

24 November 2015  |  593 views  |  0  |  Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

What are Bug Bounties?

20 November 2015  |  1358 views  |  0  |  Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

Medical Identity Theft can be deadly

18 November 2015  |  236 views  |  0  |  Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

The World's First Biometric Password Lockdown App is here

17 November 2015  |  419 views  |  0  |  Recommends 0 TagsSecurity

Robert's profile

job title Security Analyst
location Boston
member since 2010
Summary profile See full profile »
Security analyst, published author, television news correspondent. Deliver presentations throughout the United States, Canada and internationally on identity theft protection and personal security....

Robert's expertise

Who's commenting on Robert's posts

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Michael W
Dirk Kinvig
Ulrich Rosenbaum
Revinia Curry
Balasubramaniam GD
Matt Scott
Bjorn Soland
Prasenjit Das
John Serocold
Charmaine Oak
Iain Montgomery