Data Warehousing Bill Seeks Purge of 'Unnecessary' Personal Information

Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-MA, introduced a bill in the House of Representatives this week that would require Web site owners to erase data from their systems once a transaction has been completed or when it no longer is needed to conduct business.

The bill reads in part, “In order to safeguard consumer privacy interests, companies that gather personal information that can identify individual consumers should cease to store such information after it is no longer necessary to render service to such consumers or to conduct any legitimate business practice.”

The bill's definition of personal information includes first and last name, home/physical address, date or place of birth, e-mail address, telephone number, Social Security number, tax identification number, birth certificate number, passport number, driver's license number, credit card number, bankcard number or any government-issued identification number.

Though it appears that Markey's bill is a result of recent requests by the Justice Department to major search engines for search query data, as written it would apply to all marketers. Of course, in order to communicate with customers, marketers would seem to have a legitimate business need for at least name, address and e-mail data.

If passed, the Federal Trade Commission would enforce the bill.

Kristen Bremner covers list news, insert media, privacy and fundraising for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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