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Data brokers spend $143M on lobbying over 3 years as privacy laws in the US tighten, Incogni research finds

by | May 18, 2023

Data broker lobbying expenditure has been on a steady increase – a troubling finding as the interests of data brokers hardly align with data privacy principles

Data privacy company Incogni conducted research analyzing data broker lobbying efforts and expenditures. The amount of money that data brokers spent on lobbying has increased from $37.5 million in 2020 to $49.6 million in 2021 and $56.1 million in 2022. Throughout this period, 40 data brokers or broker-owning companies hired 140 lobbying companies. A quarter of the lobbying reports were found to be directly related to privacy issues, and just five companies are responsible for $86.1 million of the $143.2 million spent on lobbying. The significant lobbying efforts by data brokers are cause for alarm, as they aim to influence lawmakers and regulators to maintain their profitability rather than prioritizing the protection of individuals’ data privacy.

Only a handful of companies are responsible for the majority of lobbying efforts. Data broker owner Oracle Corporation leads the way with over $42.1 million in recorded spending, which is nearly a third of all spending recorded. 

“This report sheds light on the alarming growth of data brokers and their significant lobbying efforts,” says Darius Belejevas, Head of Incogni. “Data brokers are spending millions of dollars on lobbying to maintain the status quo and protect their profits, even if it means compromising on data privacy. The fact that only a few companies are responsible for the majority of lobbying efforts raises concerns about the influence of big tech on policymaking. Lawmakers must take steps to ensure that the protection of data privacy is prioritized over corporate interests.”

Privacy-related terms appeared in 24% of all reports. Given their clients’ interests and priorities, these data-broker lobbyists were likely not advocating for greater data privacy or security. Instead, their efforts likely aimed to limit Americans’ right to data privacy since it aligns with their clients’ need for personal data availability to run their businesses.

$16.6 million were spent during Q3 of 2022 alone – the highest quarterly amount recorded during the three years

This spike in spending may be related to the American Data Privacy and Protection Act that came before Congress in June of 2022. The Act represents a potential threat to the data broker industry, and it’s unsurprising that data brokers would turn to lobbyists to try to prevent such developments.

The findings of the report emphasize the need for greater transparency and accountability in the data broker industry, particularly in terms of lobbying activities. As individuals become more aware of the value and sensitivity of their personal data, the need for increased privacy protection becomes more urgent.

For more information on Incogni’s study, please visit the link: https://blog.incogni.com/data-brokers-lobbying/

Incogni is a personal information removal service that helps customers opt out from data broker databases. With the launch of people search site removals, Incogni is now one of the most comprehensive personal information removal services on the market, covering 180+ data brokers. The company’s mission is to empower individuals to take control of their personal information and protect their privacy. With its user-friendly platform and automated removal requests, Incogni makes it easy for customers to opt out of data broker databases, saving them hundreds of hours of tedious work.

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