Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) has sent letters to Visa and MasterCard, asking for answers to a series of questions about their plans to aggregate data from their card users' purchases to create profiles for third-party targeted advertising.
That came in response to a Wall Street Journal report about the issue.
Rockefeller said he is concerned with the potential connection of currently unconnected databases and the placement of embedded cookies to serve behavioral advertising.
Rockefeller has given the companies until Nov. 30 to fill him in on how they collect card purchase info, whether they sell it to third parties, and their plans for combining that data with other data, including from social networking sites, and what privacy protections there will be.
Rockefeller has been one of the leading congressional voices for boosting online privacy and data security, including holding a series of hearings on data security, mobile privacy and proposing online do-not-track legislation.