As Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Experian, I had the opportunity to testify today before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. As always, we continue to welcome the Committee’s interest in the marketing data industry.
In the spirit of cooperation, our goal is to help the Committee understand the role our data services play in the economy and in the lives of consumers.
Specifically, here are some key points we have shared to help inform the Committee’s work and interest in better understanding the marketplace:
Experian believes responsible information sharing enhances economic productivity in the United States and provides many benefits to consumers. Economists have stated the manner in which US companies collect and share consumer information among affiliated entities and third parties is the key ingredient to our nation’s productivity, innovation and ability to compete in the global marketplace.
As we discuss this topic, it is vitally important for everyone to understand that there is a clear difference between data that is used to assess eligibility for credit and data that is used to deliver relevant advertising to consumers. These differences are already well recognized under existing law.
The data used for marketing purposes is maintained in entirely separate databases that are regulated under various sector-specific privacy laws. Experian marketing data is not used to determine eligibility relating to credit, insurance, employment, housing or other decisions covered by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Experian has strict policies, as well as technological and procedural controls that ensure this complete separation.
Experian has been forthcoming and cooperative throughout this inquiry launched by the Committee over a year ago. We have spent considerable time and resources to ensure that the information and documents we have provided are helpful to the Committee’s work in understanding the marketplace.
To date, Experian has provided the Committee with eight submissions totaling over three thousand pages, which we believe provide a full description of our products, services and consumer protections. We have also met with the offices of the Senators on the Committee to describe our practices and respond to any questions about our company, products and services.
We have consistently been assured that this inquiry aims to build a general understanding within the Committee of the marketing data ecosystem, and we view this as another good opportunity to educate policy-makers about the benefits of the appropriate use of consumer data.