Every time you use the internet, you leave a huge trail of information in your wake–and it’s not just your browser history full of cat videos. Companies called data brokers are constantly collecting a thousand little nuggets of information behind you, adding them up into a profile of you, and selling the profiles for lots of money. Data brokers still move in mysterious ways, leaving unanswered questions: how are they getting their data? Who’s buying it? And, perhaps most importantly: can you, the consumer, do anything about it?
Perhaps the scariest part of data mining is the not knowing: What do these data brokers have on me? How do they see me in terms of marketing prey? Where does it all come from? Is anyone judging my predilection for impulse buys of cheesy romance e-books? Which is why it’s somewhat surprising that one company, Acxiom, is pulling back the curtain to show people not only some of what it has on them, but also a general idea of where that info came from. [More]
How many times have you been asked “May I have your ZIP code?” when paying with a credit card? Many people just assume it’s for security purposes, but in reality it’s more likely that you may have just given marketers access to a wealth of knowledge about you and your shopping habits. [More]
You may remember earlier this fall when Facebook’s new partnership with data broker Datalogix spurred privacy advocates to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate. Now it looks like Datalogix, along with eight other data brokers, will be going under the agency’s microscope. [More]