Personal data, in the digital space, is synonymous with CVV or card pin protection. It’s part and parcel of the virtual web, giving no room for compromise when it comes to its safekeeping. So, why is there a big fuss about data privacy protection?
To understand why it needs shielding, it’s prudent to understand what it is. Your data is the digital trail collected from all your Internet activities. Think Hansel and Gretel – your online activities leave a whole lot of breadcrumbs. It contains your confidential information, browser history, and even social media activity.
This intelligence is gathered by data brokers who intend to sell it to advertisers or the highest bidder. Private information has been referred to as the new gold, making them a hot commodity. Most advertisers are willing to pay large sums to acquire it. Unfortunately, this increases your risk of targeted advertising, shadow profiles, and falling victim to cyber-attacks.
In what follows, we discuss in greater detail who data brokers are, how is your data used, and the necessary measures to stay protected.
What are data brokers?
Data brokers also known as information brokers, collect Internet users’ personal information to sell or license it to third parties. In the US alone, the industry is estimated to be a whopping $200 Billion. Some of the most famous brokers include Epsilon, Experian, and Equifax.
Information brokers’ gathered data is comprised of private and confidential information, education, occupation, purchase history, and so on. Occasionally, information is also purchased from credit card companies and retailers.
This data is then compiled and further filtered to create audience segments, which are then sold. This might seem illegal as it’s your information and you did not authorize the sale of it. Technically is not. It is collected after users have accepted cookies when visiting websites. By accepting cookies you give vague permission for your data to be used.
How is your data used?
You may be questioning how this data is actually used. It may seem like a puzzle with missing pieces scattered around the internet. However, data brokers have a system that allows them to curate the data collected to create a profile about you.
Data brokers were first implemented when creating credit score profiles. This information was then used to determine if you were a high-risk or good-paying client, which is a form of risk mitigation.
Nowadays, agencies purchase data so they can target their audience with adverts and messages on websites or even social media feeds. For example, health insurance companies may use the data collected about a user to determine healthcare rates, gathered from specific symptoms or medications from your recent searches.
Protection from data brokers
Data removal data services are indispensable when coupled with the implications of compromised privacy. Opting out from data broker’s databases need not be an arduous task if the effort is conjoined with companies that are in the business of giving you back control over your privacy while cruising the interweb. Therefore, using the services of companies such as Incogni can facilitate the process through automated and accessible tools.
You may want to consider disabling location services as it can help protect your data and blocking people from tagging you are good options. Use Google applications in incognito mode or not signed in, to prevent data tracking.
Apple or Android devices give you access to a report that will show apps that are tracking your data. You can then revoke their permissions on their platforms as well.
There are more ways to stay safe and protect your data. This was just the tip of the iceberg. You need to do more research and look into tools, services, and best practices you can use.