The Whispers Blog
Arkansas' breaking business news blog, with news and commentary from the Arkansas Business staff.
Send us tips.
CBS News' "60 Minutes" aired a report Sunday on the data brokers who are mining the Internet for your personal information.
While Acxiom Corp. of Little Rock is named in the report, its executives declined to comment for the story. Led by reporter Steve Krofit, the story looked at how marketers like Acxiom and other firms compile data gleaned from websites -- including the CBS site -- about consumers buying habits and other personal information.
As the report notes, it's the type of stuff marketers have been doing for years, but the Internet has exponentially added to the universe of a data that's available, and most consumers are unaware of what information is being collected and how it's being used.
Bryan Kennedy, chairman and CEO of data broker Epsilon, did comment for the story. Kennedy sees a lot of political theater in Congress' recent hearings into his company, Acxiom and others.
"If there are abuses out there, we don't believe those happen within our company," he said. "And we would be the first to raise our hand and say if there are specific uses of data that are problematic, then the government should focus on those particular uses of data."
You can watch the complete segment above.
Despite not participating in the story, Acxiom has been sensitive to Congress' investigations and the possibility of regulation. Last year, it launched AboutTheData.com, a website that allows people to look up what information the company has collected on them. As of December, 500,000 people had accessed the site.
Eight billionaires with Arkansas ties find themselves on the most recent Forbes list of the world's 1,645 billionaires, released this week.
The Forbes 500 is led by Microsoft's Bill Gates, whose worth is estimated at $76 billion.
Six members of the Walton family made the list, along with Little Rock financier Warren Stephens and Johnelle Hunt, widow of trucking company founder J.B. Hunt of Lowell.
Christy Walton and her family came in at No. 9 with a net worth of $36.7 billion. Christy Walton, of Jackson, Wyo., is the widow of John Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.
Other members of the Walton family on the list:
• Jim Walton of Bentonville, youngest son of Sam Walton, No. 10, $34.7 billion
• Alice Walton of Millsap, Texas, daughter of Sam Walton and founder of Bentonville's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, No. 13, $34.3 billion
• S. Robson "Rob" Walton of Bentonville, oldest son of Sam Walton, No. 14, $34.2 billion
• Ann Walton Kroenke of Columbia, Mo., older daughter of Bud Walton, Sam's brother and early business partner, tied for No. 305, $4.8 billion
• Nancy Walton Laurie of Henderson, Nev., younger daughter of Bud Walton, tied for No. 367, $4.1 billion.
Stephens was part of a 43-way tie at No. 687 with estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. Hunt's net worth, estimated at $2.1 billion, put her at No. 828, in a tie with 40 other billionaires.
Later today, several thousand pages of records from the Clinton Administration previously withheld under special legal provisions will be made public, Politico reports.
The Clinton Presidential Library will make its first release on Friday of records that were previously withheld from the public under legal provisions that expired early last year, a spokeswoman for the National Archives said.
About 4,000 to 5,000 pages will be put online at [12 noon CST] Friday, with paper copies becoming simultaneously available at the library in Little Rock, the spokeswoman said. More releases are expected in the next couple of weeks.
POLITICO reported Tuesday that about 33,000 pages of records withheld as confidential advice to President Bill Clinton or information about candidates for appointments to federal office, were still unavailable to the public even though the legal basis to withhold them under the Presidential Records Act ran out in January 2013—12 years after Clinton left office. Some of the records come from then first lady Hillary Clinton's office and include advice given to her by aides.
More than 30,000 pages ultimately could be made available to the public.
The roughly 33,000 pages of still-secret records accumulated through early last year as records from the Clinton Library were requested under the Freedom of Information Act or processed as part of systematic efforts to disclose records of most interest to historians and the public. Archvists reviewing the records marked the pages involved as exempt, but with an eye to releasing them after the 12-year period ended.
It's still unclear precisely why the records were tied up for more than 13 additional months. The process requires the National Archives, which runs the library, to give notice to the former president and current president. Their representatives ordinarily have 30 days to clear the records for release or declare an intention to withhold them under executive privilege. However, that period can be extended.
Aides to Obama and Clinton said this week that no assertion of executive privilege was made for records in the cleared batch of 25,000 pages. No final decision appears to have been made on the remaining 8,000 pages.
Read the full Politico post here.
It's another acquisition for Wal-Mart's social media division.
@WalmartLabs has purchased Yumprint of Seattle, planning to use the company's recipe technology for its grocery delivery efforts on Walmart.com and Walmart To Go, available in the San Francisco/San Jose, Calif., and Denver areas.
In a blog post, Wal-Mart said the firm's founders, Chris Crittenden and Wes Dyer, bring with them a unique vision for using technology in the kitchen:
@WalmartLabs is acquiring Yumprint, an exciting start-up in the recipes and meal planning space. Yumprint founders Chris Crittenden and Wes Dyer had a vision for how technology can improve the way all of us discover and prepare our meals. Their website, iPhone app and browser extension are among the ideas they’ve brought to food lovers, helping them discover, search and save recipes from any website.
Chris and Wes’s ideas and ambitions for transforming the grocery shopping experience match the global opportunity Walmart enjoys in this space, and their accomplishments with Yumprint just scratch the surface of what we’re going to do next together.
According to Geekwire, Yumprint’s tech understands recipe semantics, matches ingredients to advertisements, understands consumer taste preferences and more. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville is ranked 28th on Fortune magazine's annual list of the country's "most admired companies."
The world's largest retailer was the only Arkansas company that made the list. It ranked third among general merchandisers on the list.
Apple Inc. of Cupertino, Calif., ranked No. 1 on the list, followed by Amazon, Google, Berkshire Hathaway and Starbucks.
To create the list, Fortune surveyors asked executives, directors and analysts to rate companies in their industry on nine criteria, from investment value to social responsibility.
The complete list is available here.
- Heartbleed? No Need for Heart Attack, We've Got Help, Advice
- CMS Database Shows Medicare Payments to Doctors, Others in 2012
- NY Post Reports Alice Walton Might Be Buyer of $70M Penthouse
- Wal-Mart Used Technology to Become Supply Chain Leader 2 years ago
- Home BancShares Eyes Another Florida Bank, Expects More Acquisitions 1 day ago
- Harry Scott, Former President of Thompson Industries of Russellville, Dies at 64 9 months ago
- Wal-Mart Jumps Into the Money Transfer Business, Loudly 1 day ago
- Attorney General Rejects Wording of Proposal to Make Alcohol Sales Legal Througout Arkansas 1 day ago