What are the different types of data?

In our line of work, there are many classifications of data available for consumption. In this article we’ll outline each of the major types at a high level. In the subsequent articles, we’ll dive deep into each of them to talk about the nuances involved with each. We should also make it clear that there are plenty of other classifications of data and many of these will overlap – nothing is black and white in this industry. So let’s get started!

Public Data

Public Data comes from government entities. It’s called public data because it comes from the public sector (government) and therefore belongs to the public. Things like criminal data (arrests, warrants, court records), sanctions lists, bankruptcy records, lien and judgement records, driving records, etc. are all considered public data.

The data itself contains only basic information concerning individuals. In addition to the government record data (crime info, driving record, etc.) you should expect to see an individual’s name, address, and DOB information depending on the source of the data. While the data itself is usually scant of certain details like SSN, phone number, and email address.


Consumer Data

Consumer data, sometimes called marketing data, is defined by the way it’s gathered and how it’s used. Typically, consumer databases are composed of data gathered from retailers, subscription services, surveys, store cards, and other consumer behavior trackers. Because of the way it’s gathered, it’s often times not as reliable as something that’s been verified at a courthouse or financial institution.

The great thing about consumer marketing data is that you’ll find lots of other insightful information, often labeled, “lifestyles, likes, and interests.” This information paints a picture of the individual that a business might use for marketing or advertising purposes. It often contains information about what kind of magazine subscriptions a person has, how many children or pets they might have, their marital status, household income, how many credit cards they have, and even things about their home structure (think number of bathrooms and square footage).


Regulated Data

The last category that we’ll talk about is regulated data. Regulated data is data that’s collected about a consumer which is not available to the general public and which the consumer did not explicitly offer for the purposes of marketing. It includes highly sensitive information like address, DOB, SSN, drivers license number, relative information, credit scores, and even biometrics. This data can typically only be used by businesses or government entities if they meet certain legal requirements (FCRA and GLBA, for instance).

At martin data, we offer data in all three categories. Feel free to reach out to one of our sales associates for more info!

The authors of the information presented on this page are not attorneys nor are they affiliated with attorneys. The information presented on this page does not constitute legal advice. Before acting on any of the information obtained from this page or any others on this website, please consult your own legal counsel.
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