Secondary Data: A Primary Concern

Kelsey L. Zottnick · 18 Vand. J. Ent. & Tech. 1


This Note addresses privacy concerns implicated by rising secondary data mining. Secondary data mining is the use of personal information for a purpose other than the original. This complex technology drives billions of dollars in commercial industry yet remains largely unregulated. This Note examines the current state of the data mining industry and the behavioral fallacies that belie societal concerns about online privacy. Further, relevant federal, state, and constitutional laws appear outstripped by these technological advances. An analysis of potential privacy solutions examines the advantages and disadvantages of implementing each one through the privacy community, the federal government, and the private sector. Finally, this Note concludes that implementing a solution through any one entity would not sufficiently protect against privacy harms. As such, this Note proposes a coregulatory solution to treat secondary data’s privacy concerns as a market failure. This solution offers a practical way to safeguard personal data while aligning incentives between third parties and users.