Data brokers, also known as information brokers, collect personal information, package it into bundles, and sell it to advertisers or other third parties.
On the Internet, we are effectively giving away huge amounts of personal information by using search engines, posting on social media, accessing websites that track us, using mobile phone APPS, buying and selling etc.
We give this information away freely but often don’[t understand how that data is used – sometimes for our benefit but often to help businesses sell more to us and scammers to take from us.
Data brokerage relies on this freely available information that they can collect, package and sell on.
They may collect information on purchases, preferences, habits, location, travel, income, pastimes, health issues, relatives and friends and much more. This collection of data can be used by advertisers to target adverts at you. Some people prefer seeing more relevant adverts and other people find it creepy that searching on Amazon for a product can lead to that product then popping up in adverts on other websites you visit.
It is also likely that this information paints a false picture of you, at least in part.
For example, if you search online for pregnancy items for your sister, buy dog food for the neighbour and signed up to a social media group on marital arts by mistake then you are likely to get adverts focussed on your new baby, your pet dog and martial arts equipment.
There are numerous sources of data on us, but the most common accessed include:-
- date of birth
- property sales
- who you live with
- income level
- marriage licenses
- arrest records
The Data Brokers sell to advertisers, finance companies, landlords, prospective employers and many more.
Make sure they only have the information you want them have, by restricting what you publish about yourself online.