We touched on data brokers and how they buy and sell your data in a previous article, but in an eye opening new study from the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) they found that for US-based users their information is shared online with for marketing purposes on average 747 times per day.
That means about 31 times an hour or once every two minutes your information is being sold or traded for marketing purposes so corporations can make an educated guess as to your buying habits when serving you advertising.
The study used data from a 30-day feed from Google which can be accessed by industry specific entities but is not made available to the public. While the study was aimed at European internet users, who on average have their information shared 376 times per day, the figures they discovered are startling no matter where you happen to reside.
The ICCL is pursuing legal action against online ad agencies, describing the real-time bidding (RTB) that’s occurring as a massive data breach and a violation of European data protection laws.
There are a mishmash of laws aimed at protecting US consumers from having their information sold for online marketing purposes, however with no single comprehensive federal law in place any consumer looking to find recourse if they feel their data has been used illicitly will discover they have an uphill battle ahead of them.
We all skim the lengthy TOS found when signing up for a service, while putting it out of mind that the cost of many “free” services in our data, but what if the data that’s being sold goes beyond what you’re posting on social media or what you purchased from an online retailer recently?
With data breaches being a regular occurrence, you may not even be voluntarily opting-in to sharing the information that’s currently being traded about you on the internet and it may go beyond what you would want to have shared.
Even your private medical data can be up for grabs and being sold by data brokers, for example every year Pfizer spends $12 million buying anonymized data for marketing purposes.
So as with our article on data brokers we want to give you some tools to protect yourself and protect your data while using the internet. This time we want to give you 3 helpful ideas that will help you discover what’s out there already and how to close the gaps:
- Google Alerts : Create alerts with things like your name or social media handle, that way if you’re being mentioned on the internet, you’re instantly alerted to it.
- HaveIBeenPwned : You can use this site to see if your email or phone number have been involved in a breach and whether it would be a good idea to update or change that information.
- Credit Monitoring: While we don’t want to recommend a specific site as this choice can be somewhat personal, we think credit monitoring is a good idea for everyone these days. It’s so ubiquitous now that even your bank or credit card companies you already use probably have it built into their website.
You also can “opt out” of personalized marketing with your Google account, while that won’t stop your information from being shared and used to try and market it to you with, it will at least make it so those ads aren’t reaching you as often. You may also be shocked to learn what they’ve already compiled about your interests.
Google Isn’t the only one who offers this option, iPhone users can also opt out as well as users of social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
Concerns over data protection aren’t limited to just consumers, businesses should also take steps to protect their data and that of their employees. If you’d like to learn how Valley Techlogic can help you secure your data learn more with a quick consultation.
Looking for more to read? We suggest these other articles from our site.
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This article was powered by Valley TechLogic, an IT service provider in Atwater, CA. You can find more information at https://www.valleytechlogic.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/valleytechlogic/ . Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/valleytechlogic.
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