The very juicy business of personal data
On the internet, the personal data that users give away for free is turned into a valuable product. Even seemingly innocuous activities, such as staying at home and watching a movie, generate mountains of information, treasures to be retrieved later by companies of all kinds. Personal data is often compared to oil it powers today’s most profitable companies, just as fossil fuels powered those of the past.
But the consumers who are extracted often know little about how much information is collected, who can access it, and what it is worth. Every day, hundreds of companies you don’t even know list information about you, some more intimate than others. This information can then be passed on to university researchers, hackers, law enforcement agencies, and others’order and foreign countries, as well as’It’s a good idea to keep track of the number of companies that are trying to sell you products.
Qu’What constitutes personal data? ?
The Internet may seem like a privacy nightmare, but don’t throw your smartphone out the window for the sake of it’instant. Personal data is a pretty vague umbrella term, and it’s helpful to understand exactly what that means. Medical records, social security numbers, and banking information are the most sensitive information stored online.
Social media posts, location data, and search engine queries can also be revealing, but are typically monetized in ways that don’t, for example, include your credit card number. All of this information is collected on a broad spectrum of consent: sometimes the data is knowingly forked, while in other cases it is not’In other scenarios, users may not understand that the information is being sold’they give up anything. Often it is clear that something is being collected, but the details are hidden in hard-to-analyze terms of service contracts.
Who is buying, selling and securing my personal data ?
The trade-off between the data you give and the services you get may be worth it, but another breed of companies accumulates, analyzes and sells your information without giving you anything: data brokers. These companies compile information from publicly available sources, such as property records, marriage licenses, and lawsuits. They can also collect your medical records, browsing history, social media connections and online purchases.
Depending on where you live, data brokers might even buy your information from the Department of Motor Vehicles. You don’t’t’s not your driver’s license ? Retail stores also sell information to data brokers.
The information collected by data brokers may be inaccurate or outdated. Nevertheless, it can be extremely valuable to businesses, marketers, investors and individuals. Data brokers are also valuable resources for abusers and stalkers.
The practice of publicly disclosing personal information about a person is a serious problem’without consent, is often made possible by data brokers. While you can delete your Facebook account relatively easily, it’s tedious, complicated and sometimes impossible to get these companies to delete this information. In fact, the process is so tedious that you may pay a service to do it on your behalf.
The good news is that the information you share online is contributing to the global stock of useful knowledge: AI researchers are using it to train their automated programs’a number of academic disciplines are studying social media posts and the Internet’other user-generated data to learn more about the’humanity. Personal data is also used by artificial intelligence researchers to train their automated programs.
L’the future of personal data collection
Personal information is currently collected mainly on screens when users use computers and smartphones. In the coming years, the’Widespread adoption of new data-intensive devices, such as smart speakers, censor-integrated clothing and wearable health monitors. Even those who are not employed’abstain from’The data from these devices will be collected, for example by installing surveillance cameras with facial recognition on street corners. In many ways, this future has already begun.