What Happens When an Acquaintance Buys Your Data?: A New Privacy Harm in the Age of Data Brokers

46 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2016 Last revised: 17 Sep 2017

See all articles by Theodore Rostow

Theodore Rostow

Yale University, Law School, Students

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Data brokers have begun to sell consumer information to individual buyers looking to track the activities of romantic interests, professional contacts, and other people of interest. The types of data available for consumer purchase seem likely to expand over the next few years. This trend invites the emergence of a new type of privacy harm, “relational control” — the influence that a person can exert on another in their social or professional networks using covertly acquired private information. U.S. privacy laws do not protect consumers from the possibility of relational control. Moreover, few scholars have proposed reforms broad enough to address this problem. This Note surveys two frameworks which provide at least a starting point, and considers several other doctrinal shifts that might limit consumer vulnerability.

Keywords: Commerical Data Sale, Data Brokers, Brokers, Data Sale

Suggested Citation

Rostow, Theodore, What Happens When an Acquaintance Buys Your Data?: A New Privacy Harm in the Age of Data Brokers (2017). Yale Journal on Regulation, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2870044 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2870044

Theodore Rostow (Contact Author)

Yale University, Law School, Students ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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