Colorado marketing company to pay state after violating consumer privacy rights, faking consent of 840,000 Coloradans in advocacy campaign
May 10, 2023 (DENVER) — Attorney General Phil Weiser announced today that Ifficient, a Denver-based marketing company that uses digital advertising to find potential customers and collect their personal information on behalf of its clients, will pay the state of Colorado $21,250 after the company sold 850,000 Coloradans’ personal information without their consent during a 2017 federal broadband rulemaking campaign.
“Ifficient co-opted the identities of unwitting individuals to launch a fake comment campaign to influence the net neutrality proposed being considered by the Federal Communications Commission. In doing so, it corrupted the FCC’s notice-and-comment rulemaking process and sought to undermine the voices of real people who engaged in this process. By taking action in this case, we are both standing up for the privacy of Coloradans and holding accountable a company that engaged in deceptive and unfair conduct,” said Weiser.
Working on behalf of broadband industry clients, Ifficient collected addresses and names from Colorado consumers through targeted advertising and online incentives. These ads encouraged consumers to fill out a form and provide their consent to publicly comment on specific issues. In this instance, Ifficient’s goal was to collect signatures for public comments and letters for an advocacy campaign related to the Federal Communications Commission’s 2017 proposed repeal of its existing net neutrality regulations.
During the lead generation process, Ifficient knowingly received Coloradan names and addresses from two of their vendors without consumer knowledge or consent. Nevertheless, Ifficient passed the information to its client, misrepresenting that the consumers had expressly consented to the submission of a public comment in their name and on their behalf. In doing so, Ifficient was paid for each individual lead by their client and violated consumer privacy rights in the process.
The settlement also requires Ifficient to prove to the Colorado Department of Law that it is complying with Colorado state law annually for the next five years.
In furthering the office’s commitment to protecting Coloradan’s privacy, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office recently filed the finalized Colorado Privacy Act (CPA) Rules with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. The CPA grants Coloradans rights over their own personal data. The law allows Coloradans to access the data businesses, nonprofits, and other entities collect about them and to have them delete or correct that data.
For more information, or to view previous drafts of the rules, go to coag.gov/cpa.