What Does the Internet Know About You?








We all send information over the Internet.



But it’s more than just what we post on Facebook.



It’s the websites we visit, how often we visit, what we click on.



What we write in our emails and to who.



What we buy – or don’t buy.



It’s the places we visit or want to visit.



It’s the news we consume, the music we listen to, the videos we watch.

BUT IT’S MORE THAN THAT.
WAY MORE.

★ EVERY LITTLE THING WE DO IS MONITORED.★

Those coupons on your phone? That you synced to your email address? So you can get a discount that you’ll pay with your credit card?





All monitoredHow? One way is through cookies – a small text file that’s sent to your browser by a website you visit that contains information about your visit, like what you clicked on and what you didn’t. It keep tracks of your preferences, your logon information and your shopping cart, among others.. All together.

There are companiesAcxiom
Invidi
CoreLogic
eBureau
Rapleaf
BlueKai
eXelate
Datalogix
Epsilon
and many, many, many more
out there called

DATA BROKERS.

They buy and sell and “broker” information about you.



Information like…

estimated income

name

age

email

occupation

hobbies

interests

address

activities

phone number

race

education level

And

life events

and

triggers.

Like starting a new job,

adopting a pet

or attending graduate school.

Why is this important?

Because your habits change when you experience a life event.

Moving to a new city might mean buying more hatswinter hat, scarvesscarf and rock saltrock salt bag – because it’s colder in Chicago than in Charleston.

Data brokers trade this information with credit rating agencies, department stores, banks – basically any company that wants to sell you something.

They get this information from the same companies – drug stores, electronics chains, supermarkets.

Many of the details are hidden. Data brokers keep a low profile.

But that’s not all.
They also get your information from public records.

Yep.

That government paperwork hidden in large, dusty file cabinets?

Not so secret anymore.

What kind of records are we talking about?

driving records

political donations

arrests

every address held

voting records

birth certificates

property titles

professional licenses

court documents

marriage licenses

lawsuits

public worker salaries

And when we say home address, there’s often a map to accompany it, sometimes even adding your age and the members of your household.

There are tons of sitesZabaSearch
PeekYou
Spokeo
USSearch
PeopleFinders
PeopleLookup
123People
MyLife
Radaris
BeenVerified
InstantCheckmate
that aggregate this information. Look yourself up. Are you prepared?

And this doesn’t include any information you volunteer – screen names, avatars, profiles, social media accounts, blogs or personal sites.

These sites make money by forking over information in exchange for cash. For only a few dollars, someone can get this information.

It may not be accurate. But most likely it’s accurate enough to

scare you.

After all, do you want



anyone anywhere



to know this much about you?

Are you freaked out?

Well, there’s good and bad news.

The data these firms have is (generally) anonymized. You’re just a bunch of numbers to the big data brokers.

Good news

A lot of people are, and lawmakers are beginning to put some pressure on these companies to give users more information and controlYou can also opt-out out of the some of the data tracking, or at least block some services from accessing your web activity. There’s a Firefox extension, now available for Chrome and Safari, called Ghostery, which lets you see what sites are accessing your behavior on any given website. If you really want, you can browse invisibly – incognito in Chrome and privately in Firefox – which means none of your history, preferences or cookies will be saved. Both browsers, but Firefox specifically, offers many extensions that show you what websites track your data and how they’re connected, giving you the option of opting in or out. over their information.

Bad news

As long as you live in modern society, your information will be out there. Even if you could somehow forgo using the Internet, your information is in all sorts of databases, and you can’t get rid of it.

The best you can do, while still remaining yourself, is to opt-out of what you can.

This can be tricky. There’s a lot of fine print. You won’t get out of everything. It’s impossible to know who has what – and what exactly they have.

So…

now what?

Be judicious and be aware.

Most Internet safety tips focus around information you are putting out there – on social networks and the like.

Share what you feel comfortable sharing.

The more you integrate your services

– connecting Spotify with your Facebook account, your Pinterest activity to Twitter, your Minecraft games to your bank –

the more marketers and data brokers will know your habits and try to sell you information.

THE INTERNET IS WATCHING.