Harmful data broker practices affecting Americans’ privacy

August 18, 2023

Kathy Pierce, NPA GRC Liaison


On Tuesday, August 15, the White House held a roundtable on harmful data broker practices and their effects on Americans’ privacy.


“President Biden has called for stronger privacy protections to limit the personal data that companies collect on Americans,” Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said in a statement. “The President has been clear: we need distinct limits on how companies can collect, use, and share highly personal data. Protections from abusive data practices will give people more agency over how their data is used.”


The digital age has ushered in a new era of privacy concerns. As consumers interact with online platforms, mobile apps, and connected devices, their personal information is collected, often without their explicit consent. This has sparked conversations about the necessity of data protection regulations and the importance of giving consumers control over their own data.


Although California’s recent data privacy legislation is the model most often discussed, many states have enacted new data privacy legislation over the past two legislative sessions. The NPA’s Government Relations Committee keeps track of these state data privacy developments and shares them with state presidents and other contacts in state pawn associations.


Pawnbrokers collect data from our customers each time we interact with them in the pawn booth. As we become more connected to the cloud-based services that help us do our job efficiently, it is important to maintain high standards to protect our customers’ information. Some of this data sharing is governed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that pawnbrokers already know.


The NPA submitted a comment to both the FTC last fall and the CFPB this spring about their efforts to curtail improper data selling practices. We will follow developments from both agencies and report as we have new information for NPA members. This week, the CFPB’s Director Chopra raised expectations about new rulemaking from the CFPB on data broker practices. When the text of that proposed rule becomes available, we will review it and share it so that we can prepare the most effective comments on the proposed rule we can for the pawn industry. Privacy, discretion, and convenience are hallmarks of the pawn industry.


We should all be hyper aware going forward to maintain a high standard of security of our customers’ data security and privacy.