Data mining is the utilization of software by retail companies to search available data bases to find customers with characteristics that identify them as potential marketing targets. Even though someone’s home phone and/or cell phone is registered on the National Do Not Registry, he/she may continue to get unwanted phone calls from companies who employ data mining.
The website StopDataMining.me states, “Collecting, analyzing and selling every aspect of your life for marketing purposes is perfectly legal. Indeed, it’s worth billions of dollars of business. Data brokers acquire and rate trillions of transactions per day and their databases contain updated information on ‘every single market-active consumer in the county’.”
According to the article, “A Data Broker Offers a Peek Behind the Curtain” in the New York Times, “Unlike consumer reporting agencies, which are required by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act to show consumers free copies of their credit reports every 12 months and let them correct errors, information resellers like Acxiom aren’t required to share marketing data with consumers and allow corrections. But some legislators and regulators believe that they should be.”
“Citizens don’t know what of our personal information is on file or how it is being used,” wrote Julie Brill, a member of the Federal Trade Commission, in a Washington Post op-ed article. She added: “This frames the fundamental challenge to consumer privacy in the online marketplace: our loss of control over our most private and sensitive information.”
To increase transparency, the website StopDataMining.me promotes the Federal Trade Commission’s call for a centralized website where data brokers can (1) identify themselves to consumers and describe how they collect and use consumer data and (2) detail the access rights and other choices they provide with respect to the consumer data they maintain.
Using information from the above website, it’s possible to quickly identify the Top Ten Data Brokers and opt-out of their data gathering.
To opt-out of data mining:
1.) Click on the link to go online to the Master List of Data Broker Opt-Out Lists
2.) Click on the first opt-out link for the Acxiom Corporation
3.) Fill out the online form on behalf of yourself, a person for whom you have legal guardianship or power of attorney, or a deceased person (one person per entry)
4.) After completely filling out the information, including all names, email addresses and phone numbers, click on the Submit button.
5.) Follow this procedure for each of the Top Ten Data Mining corporations listed on the website link.