With the process of running our lives in the online world, most of
the companies and corporations adapted to the digital pace as well
and sometimes the consequences
are quite dangerous. The information broker market is
the one that probably changed most. Data agents are often blamed for
purchasing and providing your internet buying history to various
interested businesses, and even know that data can be purchased
freely, this might lead to acute consequences. In this article, we
summarize the results of the investigation that includes calls to
prisons, your location, health, and public records databases, SM
activity and the way it might affect you.
Definition of a data broker
Most of the time a broker of data is an organization or a person which combines, inspects, and acquires or sells information that is connected tightly with both your online and offline activities. The specific area of information a broker may be interested in, mostly depends on the aims they follow, such as financial connection, location, consumer preferences or health-related data.
The way they operate
Data agents have existed before the start of the digital era, however, regulations which determine what businesses can or can’t access your publicly available data have fed their enormous appetite. Data agents sell and buy a whole multitude of information anywhere from your online shopping lists, details of your social media posts, individual pharmaceutical prescriptions and many more, only to sell it to the interested parties.
But at the same time, the methods data brokers have acquired are both overlapping and different from what regular consumer reports bureaus would offer. The way your data is used to make certain decisions on new credit, insurance cost or a new house, and/or employment, laws like FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) protect you as a consumer. However, this act does not regulate the actions all data brokers perform, ex. buying and selling your information for marketing purposes. A great example of an organization of the kind would be Experian which has features from both data brokers and consumer reports agencies.
What are the main concerns and risks?
Data brokers and their subsidiaries may seriously violate and harm your privacy in various ways. This is especially a problem for people who lost their job or a house or are vulnerable in any other way. The case results in discrimination and violation of basic human rights such as safety, racism and job-offer discrimination in large corporations.
What you can do about that?
The most useful advice most of the data safety pros provide is to always strive to optout from data collection sites if possible. Restrict the access to your location for various cell-phone apps, ignore pop-us that ask you to subscribe and avoid already approved credit options.
Familiarize yourself with modern opt-out solutions such as Onerep or Deleteme. Most of the data brokers offer easy opt-out links, which makes the process easy (Nuwber is a great example of the kind). Some of them would require sending a fax or calling during their business hours.
Always use encrypted messaging systems like WhatsApp or Telegram with end-to-end encryption. Avoid sharing your personal details, unless you trust someone.
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