Privacy these days means something completely different than it did a decade ago. And the only thing we have to blame is the internet and ourselves.
In the age of the internet, we are only as “private” as the tools we use allow us to be, which isn’t much. While you enjoy using many free tools, you know that you are actually paying with data.
The matter of the lack of privacy
Data is the new currency now, and we’re “giving it away” by blindly accepting all these terms and conditions on a ton of services we use day in and day out. If you dive deep into the privacy policies of these companies, you will immediately notice that your data is sold to various third parties.
Of course, none of your data is sold with your name on it. You are nothing but a number to them. This is for “anonymity” purposes, on some level, but it also makes things easier as they sell your data to marketers so you can be targeted with relevant ads.
The biggest culprits are all the companies you interact with throughout the day. Sure, Google has tons of apps that you absolutely love, but at the end of the day, they make most of their revenue from advertising.
Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are great when you’re bored, right? But they pick up a ton of information about your browsing habits, what you like, what you don’t like, what you stop to see, what you scroll past, and so on.
Every website you visit plants a cookie in your browser and every click you make is logged somewhere.
How your data is used and misused
Let’s say you know what you’re signing up for when you use one of these companies, so they can collect all that data so you can have a better experience. This information is used to show you advertisements you find interesting. This is good for business, but it’s also good for you on some level, as you might discover things you’re interested in instead of random products you’d never look twice at.
The problem is that fraudsters can use the same data.
Fraudsters will find out who you are, what you like, what you are most likely to click on, and send you a phishing email, for example. When you click on it, they get access to even more of your data. They can steal your identity, take money out of your bank account, and more.
But how do scammers get your data? Well, some data brokers sell it to them willingly and knowingly. Of course, this is not the case for all of them, but there have been lawsuits regarding this particular issue in the United States.
Working with data is a lucrative business, so there are tons of these data brokers. Some of these companies are huge, like Google, while others are much smaller. They collect all information from various sources, process it, clean it and analyze it before selling it on.
The consequences of losing our privacy
One of the biggest problems is that not all companies use the same security protocols to secure your information. In the event of a data breach, all information can be stolen.
The cybersec incidents you hear about most often affect different services, and you know exactly that hackers can have your name, your email address and an encrypted password, for example.
When data brokers get hacked, things get even more complicated because of all the information they have about you. Although it may all be anonymous, with no name attached to it, there is evidence that it may be used to re-identify you.
That’s when you can become a victim of identity theft, can be scammed or stalked online.
There is also the issue of where and how your data is used. We have read about a number of cases where collected information was used by insurance companies to raise prices. There are also concerns that health insurance companies could use information from data brokers to increase fees, deny coverage, and so on.
How to solve the problem
One of the best solutions to maintain your privacy in this situation is to ask data brokers to remove your information from their servers. As you can imagine, this can take forever if you do it yourself, and it’s almost certain that you’ll miss at least a few of them.
If you use Incogni, however, they can do the legwork for you, contacting any data brokers and taking down your information. They leverage GDPR, CCPA and other privacy laws on your behalf.
They will update you weekly on their progress and then, once the goal is achieved, they will continue to ask these companies to remove any new information they obtain about you. Typically, it takes somewhere between 30 and 45 days for data brokers to comply as they try to milk your information for as long as possible.
If you want to subscribe to Incogni, we have a discount code for you as part of the company’s Black Friday campaign. Use INCOGNI60 before 4 December 2022, and you get a 60% discount on the 1-year subscription. That’s an amazing deal!
Take back your privacy
Online privacy is something we all want. Although we can control what we share ourselves, there is little that can be done to limit what metadata is collected about you. Subscribing to Incogni is a step in the right direction to reclaim this data and reclaim your privacy.