Being tech-savvy, you would be pretty familiar with tech or security news that time and again informs you about your data collection. After the anti-privacy bill got signed by Trump, the ISPs were empowered to perform data collection with liberty. Moreover, a considerable amount of information is also being collected by online retailers. The NSA is also monitoring us all the time. However, there remain a few examples of data collection that might surprise you and might also make you a bit nervous. These examples are enlisted below:
1. Stores Buying Location Data from Facebook
The Location Awareness program allows Facebook to monitor where you are going and uses that data in whatever way it sees fit. WCPO reported that the data is sold to stores that you have visited. That’s why most people are now worried about their privacy. This is how you may start getting notifications based on the stores you walk into in the future ahead. The notifications might be related to the visit of your friend to that particular store or about a sale happening on one of your favorite products.
According to Facebook, the data sold to stores is under complete anonymity that is only used to serve location-based ads. However, it still raises concerns as Facebook knows where you are and might also be selling this information. Nonetheless, many people might be happy to get better ad-targeting services, but not everyone might be satisfied with such monitoring.
2. Recording Your Conversations on Public Transit
Recently, an article on NJ.com discovered that New Jersey Transit keeps records of passengers’ conversations on light rail trains for a month before discarding them. However, it is instead an Orwellian proposition. This is because NJ Transit recently denied public records requests for their ground surveillance policy. They said that such a policy did not exist and that the rumor adds only to the conspirational vibe.
However, after criticism from civil rights advocates, NJ disclosed that the information could be shared for just limited investigative purposes with the police and none other. Thus it becomes crystal clear that NJ Transit does keep data stored.
3. Location Data Collected In Spite Of Opting Out
Recently the US Federal Trade Commission fined $950,000 Singapore-based advertising company named InMobi. InMobi got fined for tracking mobile phone users without their approval. The FTC stated that InMobi deceived customers by signifying that the customers would be followed if they went for the tracking. However, this turned out to be a lie.
Instead, InMobi used Wi-Fi signals to track users’ locations and deliver them geo-targeted ads regardless of opting out and their privacy settings. The FTC imposed a fine against the company and also made them delete all the information they collected. Furthermore, it also instructed the company to obey data collection rules and regulations.
4. Cable Box Collecting Your Viewing Habits
Recently, many public-interest organizations filed a complaint with the FCC and FTC. The organizations marked Cablevision, Comcast, and AT&T as the worst offenders. They asserted that cable companies are not just collecting but are also selling a vast amount of information from consumers’ cable boxes.
The question arises as to what sort of information is being collected? The amount of data you use, hardware details, viewing habits, information on your cable advertisers, and much more is collected and sold to advertisers without the customer’s consent. This information is so important that it can be used negatively. Combining this information with data collected from other sources allows a very accurate customer profile to be easily created.
5. Ereader Collecting Your Reading Habits
E-readers like Amazon’s Kindle, Noble’s Nook, Barnes perform data collection related to your reading habits. This includes data about the books you read, time spent while reading, when the book is put down, whether you finished reading, and other related data. The manufacturers of these e-readers say that the information is collected to benefit authors and to help them make betterments in their content. However, not everyone agrees to these terms as it is also working undoubtedly as an advertising and marketing tool.
6. Billboards Are Monitoring You
We all come across various billboards during traveling. But did it ever strike you that the billboard you just crossed was watching you? Yes, many billboards can indeed monitor you. The information collected this way is sold to advertisers in massive amounts. All this information exchange is done under complete anonymity.
It must feel quite intimidating being monitored by the billboards that you encounter every day. Other types of ads like bus-stop ads in-shopping –mall ads have not yet started doing this type of monitoring. But it is much probable that such advertisements might also begin to do the same in the future next.
Whether you are aware of it or not, advertisers and device manufacturers are collecting a considerable amount of your information. This is, in fact, a trade because here, you are giving away your information, and in turn, you are receiving something as well. This something can most probably be better-targeted ads. You should notice that whether you approve of this trade, it is happening in the background all the time, and hence you are a part of it anyway.
In this era of monitoring and data collection, there are various methods to collect your precious data. The methods mentioned above might be some of the most surprising and astonishing ways of data collection for you. However, you can lessen the amount of data collected from your phone. By disabling Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and location services, you can help reduce the amount of data given. Furthermore, tweaking some of your privacy settings might also prove helpful for minimizing the data collection from your phone. Moreover, staying updated on security and privacy news can also benefit you.
Since trading of information is happening all around you, you should be best aware of it. By boosting your online security and privacy, you can lessen the data collected from your device. This can be easily made possible if you employ a Virtual Private Network – VPN. A VPN can surely protect your data from the prying eyes of ISPs and advertising firms.