ProPublica takes an in-depth look at data brokers, companies that compile information on individuals and the sell or use that data for marketing or other purposes:
Data companies are scooping up enormous amounts of information about almost every American. They sell information about whether you’re pregnant or divorced or trying to lose weight, about how rich you are and what kinds of cars you have. [...]
But many people still don’t even know that data brokers exist.
Here’s a look at what we know about the consumer data industry.
How much do these companies know about individual people?
They start with the basics, like names, addresses and contact information, and add on demographics, like age, race, occupation and “education level,” according to consumer data firm Acxiom’s overview of its various categories.
But that’s just the beginning: The companies collect lists of people experiencing “life-event triggers” like getting married, buying a home, sending a kid to college — or even getting divorced. Read more »