New feature: Outrage of the day! Why does it take 90 days for data broker to respond to requests?

DataLogix gets data when merchants tell on you.
DataLogix gets data when merchants tell on you.

Why would it take data broker DataLogix a full 90 days to respond to a consumer request?  Submitted by email? Welcome to the outrage of the day.

I’m committed to learning more about the murky industry that is data brokers, and one of the best ways is to see what they know about you.  And by you, I mean me.  The shrouded-in-secrecy industry has opened up just a crack recently, under continued pressure from consumer groups and the sudden gaze of the Federal Trade Commission. So some of the big-name brokers are making their data available to consumers.  The biggest broker, Axciom, launched a website last fall called AboutTheData.com which lets consumers get a peek at the raw data the firm holds on you.  

Raw data is relatively useless, however.  Inferences are where it’s at. Data brokers *really* make money by using a few pieces of data to place you in buckets — segments — like organic food purchaser or “diabetes interest.”  Marketers don’t want to sell to 63 year old you. They want to sell to recently diagnosed-with-diabetes-and-has-to-change-all-your-eating-habits you.  And data brokers consider these inferences, these segments, proprietary,

Datalogix is among the largest, and its data is among the most disturbing.  The firm tracks real-world purchases, largely through loyalty card programs, and marries them with online activity. If you buy certain items at a Drugstore, thanks to Datalogix, you are likely to start seeing adds for competitors on Facebook.  The Financial Times linked Datalogix to CVS ExtraCare Card recently, and while CVS denied that it shares personally identifiable information with the data broker, it did not deny that it shared data with DataLogix.

So, in recent quest, I decided to see what I could learn about what Datalogix knows about me. Probably a lot.  Look at this list of segments just in the Health arena!   The good: It actually does make segment attribution available to consumers.

The outrage: 90 days?!?!?
The outrage: 90 days?!?!?

The outrage (click to read it for yourself): “We create interest-segments (e.g., Travel Enthusiast or Green Consumers) to help our clients and partners tailor their advertising. You may request to receive information concerning interest-segments that may be associated with you by sending a written request to: Datalogix, Attention: Segment Request, 10075 Westmoor Drive, Westminster, CO 80021 or privacy@datalogix with the subject line: Segment Request. A copy of a state issued photo ID or passport is required to complete your request. Please allow up to 90 days for a response to your request. (bolding mine).

Why in the Wide, Wide World of Sports would it take this big, smart, data driven company 90 days to get back to me?  Yes, the company claims to have data on 10 billion purchase transactions representing $1 trillion in activity (!). I guess that’s a lot to sort through. But I doubt it takes 90 days for the firm to sell my purchase data to would-be marketers,

I asked Datalogix, as a reporter, why the request should take so long.  I am still waiting for a response.

You can go to the same webpage and request your data from them, and you probably should. While you are there, right on that same page, you can also opt out of Datalogix data collection. You definitely should do that.

Outrage of the Day is a new occasional segment I will do when something outrages me.  There won’t be one every single day — hey, I’m doing this by myself.  But I keep finding myself getting really angry about things (like non-compete clauses in employment agreements or cop cams being forced on bars), so it seems a good fit.

Are you outraged about something? Email me at Bob at BobSullivan.net or use the contact form under the button above.

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Just a few of the health-related segments you might fall into.
Just a few of the health-related segments you might fall into.

 

About Bob Sullivan 1342 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.