When you’re browsing the internet, do you ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? If the answer is no, you should know that’s part of the reason why data privacy has gone critical.
While traversing the internet, it has become all too easy for people to passively hand over their data to companies, to the point where they can collect and analyse your entire digital footprint.
What’s a digital footprint? A digital footprint is essentially everything you do on the internet. What you click on, what you spend time with, as well as your name, your age, your gender, your contact details, and even your address. We are all being watched on the internet, and we’re letting them do it.
For those wondering why it matters, there are countless risks involved with data collection. For one, this is your own personal data, which is not necessarily falling into the hands of people who respect it. Secondly, having your data made available through data brokers increases the chances of malware, phishing, and even the impersonation of your own identity.
Assessing Your Online Vulnerabilities: Understanding The Risks
Whether you’re browsing the web, streaming your favourite television show, shopping for clothes, or sending an email, you are leaving a digital footprint that can be collected by data brokers.
For those unaware, the data brokering industry has recently reached a valuation of $268.73 billion, and it is expected to hit $462.4 billion by 2031. These are companies that get you to passively hand over your digital footprint, before selling it on to the highest bidder. That essentially puts your details into the hands of others, for them to use as they please.
Imagine you’re out in the real world, you tell someone some personal information, and they proceed to traverse every highstreet, selling that information to whoever offers money for it. Why are unknown companies wanting to pay for your data? Why is the seller making profit from relinquishing your privacy? If it is not acceptable in the real world, it shouldn’t be acceptable in the online world either.
Mastering Digital Self-Defense: Practical Steps To Enhance Online Privacy
Data privacy is a growing problem, and it’s not enough to rely on government legislation and businesses to solve it. Thankfully, there are a number of key ways to take back control of your data. One of the most efficient is by clearing your digital footprint from data broker sites. Incogni – one of the top companies helping users reclaim their personal data – offers tools to delete a digital footprint, as well as guides on how to stop spam calls, emails, and texts, and even removing yourself from Google searches.
As well as this, it’s important to read data collection policies – and not just click “accept” to save time – and make sure that the apps you’ve downloaded are following data privacy regulations. When it comes to apps, you can also delete unused apps from your devices and halt the constant, passive collection of your data from apps that you no longer need.
Whatever you choose to do, it’s important to take the initiative and don’t leave the collection of your data up to chance. As mentioned before, the role of data brokers is only going to get bigger, and that demonstrates how lucrative data is seen to be now and in the future. Privacy is your right, not a privilege, and you should always say no to those who seek to take it from you.