Brooklyn Law Review


The rise of technology and the Internet has made it increasingly difficult for people to maintain anonymity both online and offline. Although many people give out their personal information willingly, others, who do not intend for their personal information to be collected or sold, become unknowing targets of data brokers. This note examines data brokers and how their growing presence positively and negatively impacts our twenty-first century society. The lack of transparency and regulation surrounding the data-collection industry raises concerns about deception and under-the-table practices, which cloud individuals’ judgment about the trustworthiness of companies that buy and sell data. In order to alleviate such concerns, it is imperative to strike a balance between data brokers’ business interests and consumers’ and society’s interests in integrity, privacy, and self-worth. To this end, this note suggests that personal information has monetary value and proposes that the tension between data brokers and consumers can be alleviated by providing data subjects with compensation for the collection and use of their personal information.