August 22nd, 2012
07:39 PM ET

Little-known company in little-known industry is storing, selling your personal information

It's no secret that the FBI, IRS, and even websites like Google and Facebook know a lot about you.

But what they know pales in comparison to the information being collected by a little-known company in Little Rock, Arkansas – the Acxiom Corporation.

Here's Ed Lavandera with the story.

Filed under: Privacy • Tech
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. LEO

    Fact check: actually, Acxiom does NOT collect sensitive health information—such data is regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (what we all lovingly refer to as HIPAA as we complete form after form in every medical office we visit.) Acxiom only collects interests consumers have in general health related areas such as organic, athletics, aging, etc. I hope the CNN reporters didn't just casually throw that comment in there to increase the sensationalism of this piece. Surely not.

    Regarding Andrew's comment: sir, you are very observant and 100% correct in terms of describing the relevant advertising content that you see when viewing certain sites. In fact, you are likely viewing data-driven relevant advertising on CNN.com since they probably collect several "markers" from their online readers and use those to sell ad space.

    Data-driven relevancy in advertising is actually driving millions, if not billions of dollars in commerce–something our economy sorely needs right now. Data-driven relevance also makes it possible to access 9 of the top 10 most-used web sites on the Internet for free (Wikipedia being the exception.) And frankly data-driven relevance is something that keeps those of us who spend a lot of time online from seeing dozens and dozens of ads that in no way interest or help us.

    So, a person who is in the trucking industry is seeing trucking-related ads, in fact, employment opportunities in the trucking industry—voila! Data-driven advertising is working. CNN, you should try to ensure your reporters and their stories are as objective and balanced as possible. This one was not and it is a disappointment for this CNN reader.

    NOTE: In full disclosure: yes, I work for Acxiom. I am one of 6,500 employees of a company that was established to help business and non-profit organizations over 40 years ago. I DO NOT however, officially represent Acxiom in my comments in any way–these are my own personal views.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
  2. Andrew

    ever notice those small flash ads on web pages?
    as an example if you use Hulu to watch tv shows and visit another site to catch up on the news you just might see an ad for hulu plus.
    or like me i visit a few truckers forums to see whats new in the industry and when i go to visit another website there is an ad that says x trucking company is now hiring drivers apply now.
    think you get the picture.
    but i guess most internet users have noticed this going on for quite some time now.
    just giving a quick view of my experience.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply

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