Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims wanted to talk to data brokers including Acxiom about data security for a column this week. But companies including Acxiom, Drawbridge and Oracle, which owns Datalogix and BlueKai, wouldn't talk, he wrote:
Plenty has been written about what data brokers know about us and how that might be used to violate our privacy, but what has yet to be highlighted is what might happen if the data they gather falls into the wrong hands.
It's likely that a data broker has already been hacked, a security researcher quoted in the piece suggested.
So why wouldn't these companies be willing to discuss an issue as important and integral to their businesses as data security? It could be that the firms couldn't schedule interviews with the proper executives in time. The more likely explanation: They don't want their names to touch the topic. We should expect to see more mainstream publications questioning data brokers -- companies that hold personally-identifiable information -- about matters such as their security practices.
And they should be willing to discuss this stuff because when they don't, simply put, it doesn't exactly reek of confidence.