Want to Protect your privacy online? Want to know how do data brokers collect information? This tutorial will give you enough information about protecting your data online.
You probably already know that data brokers are constantly tracking our digital activity, collecting our information, packaging it up, and selling it to advertisers, marketers, and other data brokers. But do you know what information they’re actually collecting?
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What Information Data brokers collect?
You can probably guess that they have your basic information from your online accounts and shopping: your name, age, address, and so on. But did you know that they also collect information from public records, such as your voter registration, criminal records, or vehicle registration?
Data brokers are very interested in “life-event triggers,” including marriage, divorce, births, deaths, and even buying a home. They also collect salary information, paystub data, and charitable donations. This information is then organized, collated, and sold to companies and marketing agencies to serve you targeted (sometimes creepily-targeted) ads.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, just one data broker has information on 1.4 billion consumer transactions, totaling over 700 billion data points and 3,000 data segments for nearly every American consumer.
How do data brokers use your Data?
For example, a furniture company could buy a list of new homeowners, to target their home mail, email addresses, and online ads with advertisements for their company. Companies stand to make a lot of money from targeted advertising, and will pay data brokers a lot of money for their data. By one estimate, a data brokerage division of a company adds more than 290,000 records on new homeowners each month.
Data brokers aren’t just collecting your information. They’re using it to build a digital profile of you, make inferences about your preferences, and place you into consumer groups. According to the FTC, these groups could be things like “dog owners” or “fantasy novel readers,” or more sensitive categories such as “interested in diabetes” or “high school level education.”
Not only does this feel like an invasion of privacy, an FTC report has argued that being placed in these categories can put you at risk.The report reveals, “While data brokers have a data category for ‘Diabetes Interest’ that a manufacturer of sugar-free products could use to offer product discounts, an insurance company could use that same category to classify a consumer as higher risk.”
How do data brokers collect information
The FTC argues, “Broker practices have grown dramatically in breadth and depth, as data brokers have the ability to collect information from more sources, including consumers’ online activities; analyze it through new and emerging algorithms and business models; and store the information indefinitely due to dwindling storage costs. Despite the Commission’s recommendations, lack of transparency and choice remain significant issues in this industry.”
This lack of transparency means that it’s hard to find out what data is being collected, how it is being used, and then to whom it is being sold. There are certain data brokers, such as Whitepages, who specializes in collecting information like your address and phone number, posting it online, and selling individual or bulk reports to pretty much anyone willing to pay a small fee. This could include criminals looking to commit financial fraud, steal your identity, or stalk you. These data broker sites are just a quick Google search away.
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How to Protect Your Privacy Online
Experts, including the FTC, explaining that while there are steps consumers can take to remove personal information from Google, there is very little to be done on an individual level to stop data broker companies from collecting data and selling it for marketing purposes.
That’s where companies like DeleteMe come in. DeleteMe works to remove your personal information from these kinds of data broker websites, which then reduces your online profile in search engines like Google. Additionally, if you’re seeking removal from Whitepages and other sites that post your address or phone number, DeleteMe works swiftly to erase your personal information and keep it off of these sites.
DeleteMe empowers people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. The subscription service removes details like names, addresses, and phone numbers from websites such as Radaris, Spokeo, and BeenVerified, in order to help users remove personal information from Google and aid in removal from Whitepages. For more information, visit DeleteMe Official Website.
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