Privacy today means something very different than it did even ten years ago. And the only thing we have to blame for this 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, and that is not much. While you may enjoy using many free tools, be aware that you are actually paying for data.
A case of lack of privacy
Data is now the new currency, and we’re all “opting it out” by blindly accepting all the terms and conditions of many of the services we use every day. If you delve 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 somewhat for “anonymity” purposes, but it also makes things easier because they sell your data to marketers to target you with relevant ads.
The biggest culprits are all the companies you interact with throughout the day. Sure, Google has a ton of apps that you’ll love, but at the end of the day, they get most of their revenue from advertising.
Meta’s Facebook and Instagram are great when you’re bored, right? But they collect a ton of information about your web browsing habits, what you like and don’t like, what you stop to look at, what you scroll through, and so on.
Every site you visit places cookies on your browser and every click you make is recorded 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, allowing them to collect all that data together so you can have a better experience. This information is used to show you interesting ads. It’s good for the companies, but to some extent it’s also good for you because you can discover things you’re interested in, rather than random products you’d never look at twice.
The problem is that the same data can be used by fraudsters.
Scammers will learn who you are, what you like, what you’re most likely to click on, and send you a phishing email, e.g. When you click that, they get access to even more of your data. They can steal your identity, siphon money from your bank account, etc.
But how do scammers get your data? Well, some data brokers sell it to them willingly and knowingly. Of course, this does not apply to everyone, but there have been lawsuits in the US regarding this particular problem.
Working with data is a profitable business, which is why there are many data brokers. Some of these companies are large, like Google, while others are much smaller. They all collect information from various sources, process it, clean it and analyze it before selling it on.
Consequences of loss of privacy
One of the biggest problems is that not all companies use the same security protocols to protect your information. In the event of a data breach, all of your information can be stolen.
The cyber-second incidents you hear about the most involve different services, and you know exactly what hackers might have, like your name, email address, and encrypted password.
When data brokers are hacked, things get even more complicated because of all the information they have about you. Although all of this can be anonymous, without being linked to your name, there is evidence that all of this can be used to re-identify you.
That’s when you can become a victim of identity theft, scams, or online harassment.
There is also the issue of where and how your data is used. We have read of numerous cases where collected information was used by insurance companies to raise rates. There are also concerns that health insurance companies could use information from data brokers to increase fees, deny coverage, and more.
How to solve the problem
One of the best solutions to preserve your privacy in this situation is to ask the data brokers to remove your information from their servers. As you can imagine, this can take forever if you do it yourself, and you’ll almost certainly miss at least a few of them.
However, if you use Incogni, they can do all the work for you by contacting all the data brokers and removing your information. They enforce GDPR, CCPA and other privacy laws on your behalf.
They will update you weekly on their progress and then, once the goal is reached, continue to demand that these companies delete any new information they receive about you. Data brokers typically take 30 to 45 days to comply as they try to milk your information 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. using INCOGNI60 by December 4, 2022, and you’ll get 60% off a 1-year subscription plan. This is a great deal!
Take back your privacy
Online privacy is something we all want. While we can control who we grant access to, there is little we can do to limit the collection of metadata about you. Signing up to Incogni is a step in the right direction to reclaim that data and reclaim privacy.