FTC investigating Intelius, and other so-called ‘data brokers’

Intelius, the Bellevue-based company led by entrepreneur Naveen Jain, is among the companies being investigated by the The Federal Trade Commission for practices of how they capture consumer data.

The Consumerist has more details, noting that the FTC is looking into how Intelius and the others collect and use data about consumers.

Here’s what the FTC is looking into, according to a press release issued today:

  • the nature and sources of the consumer information the data brokers collect;
  • how they use, maintain, and disseminate the information; and
  • the extent to which the data brokers allow consumers to access and correct their information or to opt out of having their personal information sold.

Other companies that are part of the investigation include Acxiom, the Arkansas company led by former aQuantive and Microsoft ad executive Scott Howe; Corelogic; Datalogix; eBureau; ID Analytics; Peekyou; Rapleaf; and Recorded Future.

Intelius has found itself in hot water before, settling a suit with the Washington State Attorney General two years ago.

“Intelius chose cash over candor,” Attorney General Rob McKenna said at the time. “Despite a continuous stream of complaints from consumers about mysterious charges, despite a consultant’s belief that Intelius’ advertising practices were causing confusion and despite a recommendation from its own staff to make it easier for consumers to opt out of additional purchases, the company wouldn’t change course.”

In today’s action, the FTC writes:

“Consumers are often unaware of the existence of data brokers as well as the purposes for which they collect and use consumers’ data. This lack of transparency also means that even when data brokers offer consumers the ability to access their data, or provide other tools, many consumers do not know how to exercise this right.”

  • http://twitter.com/fijiaaron Aaron Evans

    The data is public and not guaranteed to be accurate. Their billing techniques are disgusting and, unfortunately, pretty much standard for most online subscription services these days.