Most people who talk about data privacy they discuss how much Google knows about our email conversations, the lack of security in the Apple iPhone address book or other internet scenarios that run through their minds. There is one company out there, from Conway, Arkansas, known as Acxiom Corporation. The company has over 23,000 computer servers collecting, analyzing and collating data of consumers.
According to a report in The New York Times, the company processes over 50 trillion data transactions per year. The company’s databases contain information for over 500 million consumers across the globe, with almost every United States adult included in that number. The computers also hold close to 1,500 data points for each of the 500 million consumers on record with the company. This company digs deeper into the lives of Americans than the FBI, the CIA or the IRS.
The company makes money by selling the information it garners to companies such as Toyota, HSBC, Ford, Wells Fargo and Macy’s. For the most part, the company will sell its data to anyone who can afford to purchase it. The company posted a profit of $77.26 million in 2011 on sales of $1.13 billion. The company is starting to emerge from the shadows because it is embarking on using targeted digital marketing for its data collecting processes.