By Trip Elix
Did you know that data brokers openly sell the home address to our police and military personnel? Recently in the news military families experienced direct threats to their lives though several social networks. The accounts from Twitter and Facebook were used to send threatening messages.
Messages posted on Facebook stated “We know everything about you, your husband and your children and we’re much closer than you imagine. “ Another message wrote stated “While your President and husband are killing our brothers in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan we’re coming for you”. The FBI is investigating those incidents.
Data brokers are eager to sell virtually any detail of anyone’s life without constraint. That is the gist of the FTC reports filed last year and Senate hearings the year before. That was also the revelation brought the 60 Minutes story on the subject entitled “The Data Brokers” that ran in August of 2014.
Data brokers if you unaware is the name given to companies that harvest our information. Most of the data that is gathered by smaller companies, local and state government, is then sold to these organizations. Records are then matched using a wide array of indicators to unify the information with existing information.
Exact data of Chicago Illinois, advertises that it has access to the records of over 291 million consumers. It also states in its adverting “Exact Data sources consumer data from Acxiom a national database with approximately 210 million names, postal addresses, and telephone numbers, with approximately 700 selects, originating from over 2,000 different sources.”
In its list entitled “Police and Firefighters By State Mailing List” it contains the home address of 82,683, 41,011 Facebook accounts, 10,342 email and 6,986 phone records.
In its list entitled “Active Military Households Mailing List” it contains the home address of 1,474,105 , 731,156 Facebook accounts, 183,092 email and 87,604 phone records.
Data brokers are a threat to national security
Both lists can be found by anyone using google. They identify other intimate details of the identities including occupation whether children are present, whether they own a home or how much money they make and countless other details.
Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Shelden Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Al Franken of Minnesota are co-sponsors of, The Data Broker Accountability and Transparency Act. The Bill is a revamped version of the failed legislation that went through the senate in 2014. Senator Markley said in a statement. “Data brokers seem to believe that there is no such thing as privacy.”
“This legislation provides critical protections against insidious, invisible threats on the internet – the sale of personal, confidential information, violating privacy and security. The bill guarantees the consumers’ right to access personal information collected about them, correct inaccuracies, and control how this data is used. Whether you browse the Internet or shop at brick-and-mortar stores, third-party companies are aggregating massive amounts of data about you and formulating potentially sensitive inferences about who you are,” said Senator Blumenthal, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Consumers have little, if any, way of knowing what information is being stored or to whom it is being sold. This legislation safeguards personal privacy and security in our everyday lives.”
The legislation fails to address a much larger problem in government selling our personal information. Many states and local government sell a wide variety of its population base for profit. It’s called publicly dis-closeable information but there is something very wrong with the government’s attitude toward our names. Your name is your property, your identity is your property and just because we have to share information with our government doesn’t mean that we should be monetized for it. Government should install safeguards and keep private industry from using its duplicated records as a crutch to legitimize its stolen information.
It would be advisable to legislate that our names are our property. This would satisfy the problem of private industry collecting our information. People that want to allow their information to be held by third parties can do so. However third parties that hold the property of someone that did not give their permission could be handled in civil court. It is my belief that this would satisfy many of today’s problems with our information being sold.
I have a kickstarter project stated https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/809963117/data-brokers-a-threat-to-national-secuity and I want to take this message to the American people.
Please look at the project and contribute lets send the this message to everyone in America.