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A White House Hungry for Proprietary Business Data

By on 2.4.11 | 5:38AM

Several weeks ago, according to career employees at the Department of Commerce, the Commerce and Labor Departments, as well as several federal agencies, sent requests to U.S. corporations seeking regional and state-based employment data for what Commerce, Labor, and the agencies called "research purposes."

That data, which most U.S. corporations consider proprietary, includes locations of business facilities and numbers and locations of employees. But while it may be two federal departments and agencies like the Federal Communications Commission seeking collecting the data, it's the White House that intends to use it, according to a Department of Commerce employee.

"[The White House] is looking to use some of this data to identify companies and communities it can target for jobs and political events," says a career employee. "They are not just making this charm offensive with the business community for nothing. If they are going to give something to business, they want something back. And it's all about the data."

In the requests for the proprietary employment data, the agencies are not informing those companies that receive the requests what the data will be used for, how long the data will be saved, and whether the requests for updated information might be required.

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