One of the biggest personal data collectors around is getting ready to open its vaults to the public. According to Forbes, you'll soon be able to request your personal files from Acxiom, a marketing company that holds a database on the interests and details of over 700 million people. That database reportedly holds information on consumers' occupations, phone numbers, religions, shopping habits, and health issues, to name a few. That data has traditionally been given only to marketers — for a fee, of course — but Acxiom has decided to let consumers peer into its database as well. Whether individuals will have to pay too is still up for debate, but it's been decided that a person can only view their own file.
Coming later this summer
Acxiom says that it wasn't motivated by the recent uproar over the NSA's surveillance practices, reports Forbes. The company was apparently working to make the data available before the leaks, and it still plans to open up later this summer. While Acxiom already allows individuals to gain access to parts of their data, no more than 16 people a year have made it through the company's involved request process. The new method should allow the data to be given out on a mass scale, though not all of an individual's data will be immediately available. Acxiom told Forbes that a "healthy amount" of detail would be present to start with and that more will come over time.
While the move is certainly a consumer friendly one, Acxiom has other motivations to make the change. Its practices were put in the spotlight by a profile in The New York Times last year, and by emracing a broader degree of openness, it might just be able to keep regulators off of its back.