The Federal Trade Commission is recommending that Congress enact legislation to make data broker practices more visible to consumers and to give consumers greater control over their personal health information.

FTC conducted its own study of nine data brokers, who obtain and share vast amounts of consumer information, typically behind the scenes and without consumer knowledge. What the commission discovered was that these data brokers collect and store billions of data elements covering nearly every U.S. consumer. One data broker alone holds information on more than 1.4 billion consumer transactions and 700 billion data elements, while another data broker adds more than 3 billion new data points to its database each month, according to an FTC report issued on May 27.

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