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Congress seeks information on data brokers' privacy and security practices |

Eight members of Congress have sent a raft of questions to large data companies asking them to spell out their policies and procedures for working with consumer data and protecting their privacy.

“Data brokers have developed hidden dossiers on almost every U.S. consumer. Time we find out more about the industry,” said Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who co-chairs the Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus with Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican. Markey madehis comment on Twitter.

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Members of Congress are not the only ones thinking about consumer privacy and data security. The business and IT managers discussing the potential of new technologies and analytics applications routinely cite concern about these issues. At a cloud computing conference in New York in June, attendees discussing their challenges identified the consumer data security issue as a top challenge to overcome, along with justifying the cost. Venture capitalist Chris Lynch noted at a May talk with IBM systems consultants near Boston that the still-emerging big data field needs to figure out how to let consumers participate in the value they create with data—or risk government regulation.

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