As Congress considers legislation to further secure privacy rights on the Internet, multiple groups of data brokers are lobbying to alter the legislation in their favor before it is passed.
According to Politico, the bill – the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (H.R. 8152) – has led to increased lobbying efforts from multiple industries, including Big Tech companies, drugmakers, and nonprofits. But at least five major data brokers have significantly expanded their lobbying efforts, spending a collective total of $180,000 thus far as the bill appears headed for passage with bipartisan support.
Some of the companies involved include the U.K.-based RELX and the credit reporting agency TransUnion. RELX claims that one provision of the bill, to ease restrictions on data-sharing, would hinder investigations of potential crimes. Other data brokers want clearer permission to use third-party data for the purpose of more targeted advertising. Such companies rely heavily on third-party data, which is collected by companies that Internet users often have no direct relationship with in the first place.
One example is the use of one’s location for targeted advertisements; information is gathered by location data brokers, using apps and other factors to determine a person’s location, demographic, and shopping habits, to create advertisements that are more likely to appeal to the person’s interests and promote businesses that are near them. The market of location data alone is worth at least $240 billion.
Under the provisions of the new bill, introduced by Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), users would have the right to demand that companies delete any and all data that has been collected about them, and would implement further restrictions on such data being collected and shared with third parties, as well as additional special protections for sensitive personal information such as geolocation.