Vermont Passes Regulation on Data Brokers

Devin Coldewey, TechCrunch:

While Facebook and Cambridge Analytica are hogging the spotlight, data brokers that collect your information from hundreds of sources and sell it wholesale are laughing all the way to the bank. But they’re not laughing in Vermont, where a first-of-its-kind law hems in these dangerous data mongers and gives the state’s citizens much-needed protections.

Data brokers in Vermont will now have to register as such with the state; they must take standard security measures and notify authorities of security breaches (no, they weren’t before); and using their data for criminal purposes like fraud is now its own actionable offense.

This is excellent news for American consumers — even those who do not live in Vermont. Because many data brokers operate nationally or internationally, it will a widely-covered scandal when a data broker inevitably announces that it has suffered a breach or used its data improperly.