The Billion Dollar Industry You’ve Never Heard Of
There is an entire industry out there where your information is both the product and the currency. It relies on gathering and selling your personal information. They operate with little restriction or regulations, and most people don’t know about their existence, or how their personal information is being used. This is the industry of Data.
Data brokers, as they’re called, bank on your ambivalence. They collect your personal information from both public and nonpublic sources, and are almost constantly gathering the information you provide from your regular use of the internet in daily life. The the information you voluntarily give while online shopping, while signing up for and sharing on social media, while dealing with public institutions (weddings, deaths, registering your vehicles, etc.), all end up producing information about you, which data brokers want to–and can–collect.
One data broker’s “servers process more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year, reported theNew York Times. Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States.”
These databases include basic personal data, such as your name, age, religion, address, ethnicity, occupation, and your level of education. More than that, they collect detailed information about your preferences, medical history, major life events, and credit-driven data. After they collect this information (or buy it from another data broker), they package it up and sell it to whoever has the funds and inclination to purchase it — advertisers, marketers, or those with more insidious intentions, such as stealing your identity or committing financial fraud.
While regulations are starting to come together that will aid in protecting you and your data, it is a slow process. The best way toremove personal information from Google and other sites that store your data is to hire a professional, like DeleteMe. They will scour the web for you and remove information as it shows up on data broker sites, taking the hassle of data security out of your hands, keeping your information safe.
Based out of Boston, Abine is a privacy company on a mission to make the internet a better, safer environment while putting people back in control of their data. Led by consumer protection, privacy, and identity theft experts, they are passionate about making easy-to-use privacy solutions for everyday people. Fromremoval from whitepages to password and payment security, they are here to help you navigate staying private online.
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