Article Wrongly Conflates Issues of National Security with Data Used for Marketing Purposes

August 19, 2013 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) strongly disagrees with a recent opinion piece by FTC Commissioner Julie Brill published by the Washington Post, titled “Demanding transparency from data brokers.” In response to the article, DMA President and CEO Linda A. Woolley wrote an open letter to Commissioner Brill, stating, “This op-ed inaccurately targets reputable practices that benefit consumers and unfairly demagogues the hundreds of thousands of people employed in the field of responsible data-driven marketing.”

“Rather than highlight the societal benefits resulting from this data revolution, the op-ed demonizes data and conflates the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) with those of responsible data-driven marketers,” Woolley went on to say.  “The use of consumer information for commercial purposes is already governed by a robust set of sector-specific federal and state laws and regulations.  The law, for good reason, has always treated surveillance issues as distinct from commercial uses of data.”

DMA is available to speak with members of the press on this issue.  Please contact us at (212) 790-1589 or at

The full text of DMA’s letter can be accessed here.


About Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

The Direct Marketing Association ( is the world’s largest trade association dedicated to advancing and protecting responsible data-driven marketing.  Founded in 1917, DMA represents thousands of companies and nonprofit organizations that use and support data-driven marketing practices and techniques.

In 2012, marketers — commercial and nonprofit — spent $168.5 billion on direct marketing, which accounts for 52.7 percent of all ad expenditures in the United States.  Measured against total US sales, these advertising expenditures generated approximately $2.05 trillion in incremental sales.  In 2012, direct marketing accounted for 8.7 percent of total US gross domestic product and produces1.3 million direct marketing employees in the US.  Their collective sales efforts directly support 7.9 million other jobs, accounting for a total of 9.2 million US jobs.

DMA’s most current initiative is the Data Driven Marketing Institute (DDMI), which advances and protects data-driven marketing by engaging the entire industry in a coordinated campaign to set the record straight about the countless ways that data-driven marketing benefits consumers and fuels the data-driven economy.

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