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Mastercard faces backlash as consumer advocacy groups allege unauthorized sale of cardholders' data

Privacy concerns grow amidst claims of data monetization by credit card companies like Mastercard

In a digital age where personal data is increasingly becoming a prized commodity, allegations of major credit card companies monetizing their customers' transaction information are sparking outrage and concerns over privacy rights. A recent report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) has shed light on Mastercard's alleged practice of selling detailed records of its cardholders' spending habits to third-party companies, raising questions about consent, transparency, and the potential risks to consumer data.

Consumer advocates demand accountability from Mastercard

Consumer advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Digital Democracy, have taken a stand against Mastercard's alleged data monetization practices. In a joint effort, these organizations sent a letter to Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach, urging the company to cease the sale of customer data. The groups argue that while Mastercard claims the data is anonymized and aggregated, it still poses significant risks to consumers, including the potential for identity theft and invasive advertising.

According to U.S. PIRG policy analyst R.J. Cross, Mastercard doesn’t have a clear consent form that allows the company to sell customers’ data. So, by opting for Mastercard’s services, people have their data sold by default.

This isn’t the only instance of a data breach. Cellphone companies and automakers all benefit from selling customer data.

Building with Mastercard logo

A broader issue in the data broker industry

The allegations against Mastercard shed light on a broader issue in the data broker industry. U.S. companies have recognized the lucrative nature of collecting and capitalizing on consumer spending data over the last decade. These entities, commonly called data brokers, compile vast amounts of information and then sell it to 3rd party marketers for targeted advertising. The industry is projected to reach a staggering $462 billion by 2031, making it a significant player in the digital economy.

Data brokers not only raise concerns about consumer privacy but also draw attention from regulators and Congress. Recent inquiries have probed smaller data brokers, as well as major tech companies, regarding the handling of consumer location data from mobile phones and the protection of individual privacy rights.

To keep up with the latest developments in this evolving landscape and learn more about protecting your data, visit Calle Ocho News for in-depth coverage and expert insights. Subscribe today!

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