Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

These data miners know everything about you

Gathering your personal information to sell to marketers, insurers, employers and anyone else who wants it is big business. Here are some of the key players.

1 of 5
BACKNEXT
Acxiom
Who they are: The oldest and the biggest data aggregator out there, Acxiom says it has more than 32 billion data records. If you get direct-marketing mail, phone calls from telemarketers, offers by e-mail or ads targeted to you online, there's a pretty good chance the company behind it looked up information about you on Acxiom.

Founded in 1969 and based in Little Rock, Ark., Acxiom runs a vast collection of businesses ranging from background screening to social media marketing. Only rival ChoicePoint does anything close to the scale of Acxiom's business.

What they know: Pretty much everything. The company tracks all kinds of personal information, from your Web behavior to your Social Security number and your finances. It buys information from many other data aggregators, privacy experts say, so it has all of the details every other data miner has about you -- and it has more information individually than any other company.

"Acxiom is Rome," said Pam Dixon, executive director of World Privacy Forum. "All roads lead to Rome."

How to opt out: It's more complicated than you might think. To opt out of online advertising, click here.

To stop getting direct mailings and to take yourself off of Acxiom's other directories, you need to fill out an online form. The company will then snail mail you another form that you need to send back for "processing."


NEXT: Rapleaf
Last updated December 16 2010: 5:18 PM ET

Search for Jobs

More Galleries
Toy Fair surfaces holograms, robotic animals, dolls for boys The Toy Industry Association's annual fair revealed countless tech-enabled toys -- and some fresh takes on old classics. More
Super Bowl bound? Things to do in Houston besides the big game If you're one of the thousands of fans are headed to Houston for the Super Bowl Sunday, here are five things to do when you're not at the stadium. More
Sneak peek at Super Bowl 51 ads The ghost of Spuds MacKenzie and an ad about immigration steal the show in the swell of upcoming Super Bowl ads. Advertisers are paying, on average, $5 million for 30-second spots during Sunday's game on Fox. But if you want to watch something other than commercials, the New England Patriots happen to be playing the Atlanta Falcons. More

Special Offer