Acxiom CEO Wants Tighter Regulations On Data Industry

Mar 28, 2014

Acxiom Corporation's headquarters in Little Rock.
Credit Adam Bartlett /

The CEO of Little Rock-based Acxiom Corporation says he supports stronger regulations on companies that collect, analyze and market consumer data. In a presentation to investors associated with Delta Trust and Bank last week, CEO Scott Howe said data collected on consumers should be limited to marketing only. He said people should also have the right to deny access to companies that want to collect their personal data.

Acxiom has recently come under increased scrutiny by the national media and the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia for the extent of its consumer data collections. In his presentation, Howe characterized himself as an advocate for stricter rules in conversations with inquirers.

“When I talk to 60 minutes, when I talk to CNN, when I talk to the New York Times, when I talk to the Wall Street Journal, when I talk to Senator Rockefeller, I always say the same thing: You might be surprised that Acxiom is in favor of much stronger privacy regulation,” he said.

He said he hopes regulations ensuring these principles will be applied to all companies in the industry of consumer data collection and data-based marketing.

“It is about transparency and choice. Let’s make sure that all consumers know exactly what information is being collected about them and what it’s being used for and have a choice to opt out if they don’t want to participate.”

He listed several guidelines for possible regulations:

-Enforce stringent data source screening

-Limit data use to marketing only

-Restrict use of sensitive data (such as healthcare data and data about children)

-Enforce security and breach notification

-Provide core transparency and choice (Consumer Bill of Rights)

Last year, Acxiom opened a website which allows users to see what information the company has collected about them. You can view Howe's  full presentation at this link.