ProPublica's Lois Beckett has done yeowoman's work and just published an informative report on the huge variety of personal information the consumer data industry now tracks.
Here is a breakdown of her findings:
1. The Basics
- Demographic data such as name, address, age, race, occupation, education
- "Life-event triggers." Are you getting married? Soon to have a baby? Beckett reports that one company, Experian, updates its list of expectant and new parents "weekly."
- Salary and wages: "A subsidiary of credit reporting company Equifax even collects detailed salary and paystub information for roughly 38 percent of employed Americans, as NBC news reported," Beckett writes. But, she adds, "that if a mortgage company or other lender wants to access information about your salary, they must obtain your permission to do so." Read more...