If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. As nice as it would be to see a short list of sites and apps to avoid, most services collect your personal information such as location data, purchase history, interests, and more. When signing up for these services, you often agree to give these businesses access to other sensitive data, including your contacts, search history, and even your financial information. These companies then go out and look for people interested in buying your personal data.
As people use apps and technologies to enrich their lives, these companies collect unique and invaluable data to share with interested parties, such as physical activity level, medical conditions, and family life. Companies can increase their revenue streams and enhance their partners’ marketing ability by providing advertisers and data brokers with precise user information.
Who is Buying Your Information and Why?
Unfortunately, there is a never-ending list of organizations seeking valuable personal data. For one, data brokers sell the information they’ve collected to other brokers seeking to complete data profiles. But not all companies buying user information are data brokers.
For decades, advertisers have compiled data to create profiles of their potential clients. In recent years, it has become significantly easier to collect millions of points of data to develop disturbingly detailed profiles using the web of technology people interact with regularly.
What You Can Do?
At this point, it’s difficult to erase your online presence, but there are things you can do to delete information available on the web. Searching for broker websites that sell your information to request removal can be effective but time-consuming.
Hogo’s privacy tool can help you save time by identifying and removing your personal information from several data broker websites at once. Also, consider using tools such as VPNs and social media managers to limit the information available to data collectors in the future.