Data Brokers Selling Personal Info of Rape Victims to Marketers

from “Data brokers” track, categorize and sell personal health information for marketing use, a new US Senate report reveals. Data groupings include rape victims and HIV-positive individuals, those with depression and dementia, and womens’ gynecologist visits.

Hundreds of so-called “data brokers” in the US maintain databases made up of Americans’ sensitive health details. A report by the Senate Commerce Committee says the companies are legally allowed to withhold from individuals what data is collected, how one is categorized and who buys the information.

The report on the global multi-billion dollar industry was released Wednesday ahead of a committee hearing on such practices. Though the report does not detail wrongdoing, it does point out the reams of consumer data made available to marketers in the digital era. The information is used for targeted advertising across the web.

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