August 13, 2012 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) today responded to members of Congress who have queried nine companies they labeled “data brokers” about their business and privacy practices. Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA), Joe Barton (R-TX), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Steve Chabot (R-OH), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Austin Scott (R-GA), Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) issued a joint letter on July 25, 2012, with detailed questions about how companies acquire and store marketing data, and the protections that they give consumers.
Responding to the lawmakers’ focus on marketing uses of data, DMA’s letter highlights the benefits of data-driven marketing for consumers and companies. DMA’s Acting President and CEO Linda A. Woolley wrote to lawmakers, “DMA is concerned that your letters appear to question legitimate commercial data practices that are essential to America’s job creation, economic growth, and global leadership, particularly with respect to the companies you have queried that collect and use data about consumers with whom they have a direct relationship. Quite simply, in the digital age, data-driven marketing has become the fuel on which America’s free market engine runs.”
DMA also addressed lawmakers’ interest in whether companies offer tools for consumers to access or correct marketing data. Finally, DMA reiterated its support for industry self-regulation as the most efficient and effective means to address any privacy concerns raised by marketing uses of data. DMA, through its longtime leadership of self-regulatory efforts, has consistently demonstrated that self-regulation delivers robust yet flexible standards that adapt quickly to technological changes and that are enforceable against participating companies.