Lawmakers Open Data Broker Probe

Nine companies queried about 'consumer dossiers'

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A bipartisan group of eight lawmakers opened a probe today into the privacy practices of data brokers, companies that compile databases of consumers and then sell them to third parties, including marketers.

A multibillion dollar business often invisible to consumers, data brokers—a loose term to describe any company that puts together a list of consumers—have become an essential part of many marketers' playbooks.

The investigation, led by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the co-chairs of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, follows damning reports in The New York Times about the personal consumer information compiled by Axciom Corp.,



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