Releasing new report: Data Brokers: A Call To Action

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is pleased to release a new report, Data Brokers: A Call to Action. “Data Brokers” is a catchall term for businesses that collect, process, store, and sell individualized personal data. The data broker industry has been under increasing scrutiny as they continue to collect detailed and sensitive information on the public, often without the public’s knowledge, informed consent, or understanding of how their data is being used. Despite federal policymakers’ concerns about the lack of transparency and the potential for harm posed by data brokers, today, the data brokerage industry still operates largely without government oversight. Further regulation and oversight are needed to mitigate the harms that data brokerage poses to civil rights, national security, and consumer privacy.

This report consolidates the ideas and recommendations from a convening of experts hosted by the Hub in June 2023 that gathered a cross-disciplinary group of data privacy professionals to discuss the data broker industry. Participants included leaders from government, academia, the private sector, and civil society. Together, the group considered the challenges facing the data broker industry and proposed steps that can be taken to improve transparency and privacy protections.

This report organizes the ideas proposed in the convening into concrete recommendations in four areas: Managing the Government’s Use of Data Broker Services, Limiting the Use of Data Brokers in Law Enforcement, Enforcing Existing Laws to Combat Data Broker Abuses, and Educating the Public about Data Brokerage. Most importantly, all recommendations proposed in the report are actionable now, without new federal legislation or regulation. You can view the full report here. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the report or its recommendations, contact us here.