On May 7, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) announced the results of its testing operation, revealing that 10 companies out of the 45 that the FTC approached seemed to be willing to sell consumer information without complying with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA.”) The FTC reported that its staffers asked the companies about buying the information for purposes such as determining creditworthiness, suitability for employment or eligibility for insurance.

Six of the 10 companies appeared willing to sell consumer information for employment purposes, two for insurance decisions and two for pre-screened lists of consumers to use in making firm offers of credit. The data brokers were contacted again by the FTC, but this time in the form of letters, warning that their practices may violate the FCRA. The warning letters are part of an ongoing international effort spearheaded by the Global Privacy Law Enforcement Network, an informal group of consumer protection and privacy agencies.