Sports Authority is no more. The sporting goods store folded earlier this year, and for the past few weeks all their assets have been up on the auction block. That included all their intellectual property, which was snapped up this week by competitor Dick’s Sporting Goods. And that now means that if you were a Sports Authority customer, Dick’s just bought your information.
You’ve signed up for a dating site, and it has promised up and down not to sell your data for marketing purposes. One year in, so far so good. Except the site folds, and someone else buys its assets — and those assets include all your personal info. The new owners made no privacy promise, and now your likes, dislikes, and dating history are floating down you-know-what creek without you.
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?