Vermont Law Shines Light on Data Brokers

Vermont law data broker

A newly enacted Vermont law offers a glimpse at companies engaged in the compiling and selling of individual user data.

Under H.764 (Act 171), third-party data brokers (companies with no prior relation or interaction with consumers) are required to register with the state. Other requirements include disclosing whether consumers can opt out from their data collection, if there are any restrictions on how data is shared, and if they have experienced a breach or compromise within the last year.

The law is the first in the nation to target the data broker industry, which deals in personal information gleaned from a wide variety of sources, including public records, social media sites, purchase histories, quiz apps and other sources, all with little to no transparency being offered to the people whose information is being gathered.

While H.764 is a worthwhile step toward greater consumer privacy and protection, critics say it doesn’t do enough.

“Vermonters did not gain any new rights to request their data, opt-out of data collection, or file lawsuits against scofflaw data miners,” said attorney Joel Winston to FastCompany.com.

So far, 121 companies have registered.