We will again use the definition for “data brokers” employed in our 2006 report, “On the Data Trail”, as a company “whose primary business involves the trading and analysis of personal information”. We observe at the outset that this is a contested term. The industry is complex. Key actors include:
- large online platforms such as Google and Facebook;
- marketers in the personal data and analytics industry;
- marketers in the risk analysis industry; and
- other businesses spread throughout the economy, ranging from retailers to internet of things developers.