You probably already know that you have precious little privacy, and that shadowy data brokers have built the buying and selling of people’s personal information into a multibillion-dollar industry.
But did you know this: Nobody knows how many so-called list owners and list brokers are operating nationwide. The best guess is tens of thousands.
Or this: These businesses operate largely unregulated, overseen day to day by no official authority.
And if they get things wrong — that is, if there’s ever need to correct files as a result of a death, divorce or similarly life-changing event — there’s pretty much nothing you can do to hold these firms accountable.
Federal regulators find this just as frustrating as consumers.
“We think there is a real problem with the lack of transparency in the data-broker industry,” said Maneesha Mithal, associate director of the Federal Trade Commission’s division of privacy and identity protection.