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The Murky Marketplace: Regulators Are Watching You on Sensitive Data


John Finneran

| Head of Product Marketing

August 17, 2022

Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put the data monetization industry on notice with a blog post detailing the risks to “strangers” who meet in the “murky marketplace” of sensitive data sales.

According to the FTC, these sellers, middlemen, and buyers share data of “unprecedented scale and granularity” in an “opaque” and “often shadowy ad tech and data broker ecosystem.” 

While vendors promise that they use secure processes to aggregate, anonymize, and package data for resale, sellers and buyers lack the ability to determine if these claims are true. If they aren’t, firms and individuals risk having datasets reverse-engineered, exposing insights they’d rather keep private. 

Data anonymization won’t protect you

So, who should be scared?

Capital markets firms risk exposing trading strategies, customer information, and intellectual property if data isn’t anonymized properly. Unknowing and non-consenting consumers risk having their sensitive information, such as health or location data, exposed to ad tech firms.

Buyers may not know they are using sensitive data to gain an unfair advantage with business strategies or deliver hyper-personalized advertising that makes consumers squeamish. In addition, cybercriminals may exploit exposed data for their financial benefit. And aggregators and brokers risk regulatory censure and stiff fines – not to mention the loss of customers and business reputation – if they use outdated, insecure practices to monetize data. 

Indeed, the FTC warns:

“We will vigorously enforce the law if we uncover illegal conduct that exploits Americans’ location, health, or other sensitive data. The FTC’s past enforcement actions provide a roadmap for firms seeking to comply with the law.” 

The blog post profiles the FTC’s investigation and prosecution of companies that breached data privacy laws and paid multi-million-dollar fines. 

Stop scaring strangers: How to prevent sensitive data exposure 

But, there’s a better way for firms to share and monetize sensitive information. Capital markets firms and other industries holding sensitive data can use LeapYear’s platform to generate privacy-protected data. 

LeapYear technology uses differential privacy, which leverages mathematical methods to enable secure data sharing. As a result, holders of sensitive data can share data sets without disclosing the sensitive information of individuals.  

In addition, aggregators and brokers can provide quantified proof to buyers, sellers, and regulators that data is protected with LeapYear’s privacy-enhancing technology. Even when it passes between different institutions and people..  

LeapYear’s new handbook, Liberate the Data, shares how this exciting technology works and benefits participants across the sensitive-data ecosystem. 

Data monetization made transparent

So, if you’ve wanted to sell, buy, or share sensitive information, but hesitated due to regulatory concerns, you’re right to be worried. Many data aggregation technologies today won’t satisfy regulators. And they are watching. The FTC warned that “firms making claims about anonymization should be on guard that these claims can be a deceptive trade practice.” 

Transparent markets grow faster. Data monetization deserves better. Now, regulators are watching and warning. TheIt’s time to improve the transparency of data monetization. You and your partners can set the standard in the industry. Use LeapYear’s platform to protect privacy and share sensitive data safely. Build a bigger data monetization business by offering privacy-protected data and analytics. In addition, you’ll have quantified proof of privacy protection, if the regulators ever come calling, 

Join the revolution in monetizing sensitive data. 

Download The Liberate the Data Handbook.

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