Tag Archives: data broker

Supreme Court to Consider FCRA Lawsuit against People Search Website


Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the ‘Petition for a Writ of Certiorari’ to question whether online people search website Spokeo Inc. should continue to face a class action lawsuit for alleged violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that requires Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) to provide correct information. The Petition is available at http://www.esrcheck.com/file/Spokeo-v-Robins-Petition.pdf. Continue reading

FTC Issues Report Examining Data Brokers

Written By Thomas Ahearn

Data BrokersThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a report – “Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability” – that claims data brokers operate with a fundamental lack of transparency and recommends Congress consider enacting legislation to make data broker practices more visible to consumers and to give consumers greater control over their personal information collected and shared by data brokers. The FTC report, the result of a study of nine data brokers representing a cross-section of the industry, is available at http://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/data-brokers-call-transparency-accountability-report-federal-trade-commission-may-2014/140527databrokerreport.pdf. Continue reading

Data Brokers Settle FTC Charges of FCRA Violations

Written By Thomas Ahearn

ESR News BlogTwo data brokers that sell public record information about consumers have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by allegedly providing reports about consumers to users such as prospective employers and landlords without taking reasonable steps to make sure that they were accurate or that their users had a permissible reason to have those reports. A press release from the FTC about the settlements is available at http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/04/two-data-brokers-settle-ftc-charges-they-sold-consumer-data. Continue reading

Federal Trade Commission Warns Data Brokers about Possible Fair Credit Reporting Act Violations

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has sent letters to ten data broker companies to warn them that their practices could violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The letters were issued as part of a global privacy protection effort after a test-shopping operation by the FTC indicated the ten companies were willing to sell consumer information without following FCRA requirements. A news release from the FTC about the warning letters is available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2013/05/databroker.shtm. Continue reading

Background Screening Industry Faces Greater Scrutiny after Accuracy of Criminal Background Checks Questioned

In 2012, after reported cases of inaccurate criminal background checks costing job seekers employment, the background screening industry faced greater scrutiny over accuracy of reports. This increased attention included a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report recommending regulations on data brokers, the FTC charging companies with alleged Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations, a National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) report on inaccurate background checks, two New York Times editorials, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) increasing supervision of background checks, and an NBC Today Show report on background check errors. In response, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) refuted reports critical of the screening industry and pointed to an accreditation program created to improve accuracy. This focus on accuracy is Trend 1 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php. Continue reading

Top 20 Stories for Background Check Screening for 2012 from Employment Screening Resources

For the last day of the year, nationwide accredited background check provider Employment Screening Resources (ESR)http://www.esrcheck.com – has chosen the following ‘Top 20 Stories for Background Check Screening for 2012’ from the ESR News blog at http://www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/. Here are the top 20 stories for 2012 from ESR in order of the date posted: Continue reading

New Privacy Laws for Collection and Use of Personal Data of Consumers Focus on Background Checks

In an effort to create stronger privacy protections for consumers, several states passed laws in 2012 regarding the collection and use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of applicants and employees by employers during background checks, or had important privacy regulations passed in previous years take effect. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is requiring nine data broker companies that collect and sell personal information of consumers to reveal their privacy practices or lack thereof. The increased regulations for greater privacy protections for data collected during background checks is Trend Number 4 of the 6th Annual ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ available at http://www.esrcheck.com/Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends-for-2013.php. Continue reading

Federal Trade Commission to Study Collection and Use of Consumer Information by Data Brokers

In an effort to study privacy practices in the data broker industry, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has voted 5-0 to issue orders requiring nine data brokers – companies that collect, analyze, and sell personal information of consumers – to reveal how they gather and use data about consumers, according to an FTC news release available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/12/databrokers.shtm. Continue reading

Statistical Analysis of Online Ads for Internet Data Broker Website Uncovers Possible Racial Profiling

A Harvard University professor who ran a statistical analysis of online ads used by an Internet data broker website that suggested certain names may have arrest records uncovered what she described as possible racial profiling when she found the company’s advertising “disproportionately” used the word “arrested” for black-identifying names even when a person had no arrest record, according to the Huffington Post. The story is available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/25/racial-profiling-online-ads_n_2186409.html. Continue reading

FTC Fines Data Broker Spokeo 800000 Dollars to Settle Charges of Violating Fair Credit Reporting Act

In the first Federal Trade Commission (FTC) case to address the sale of Internet and social media data in the employment screening context, Spokeo, Inc. – a data broker that compiles and sells detailed information profiles on millions of consumers – has agreed to pay a $800,000 fine to settle FTC charges that the company marketed profiles to companies in the human resources, background screening, and recruiting industries without taking steps to protect consumers required under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), according to a press release at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/06/spokeo.shtm. Continue reading