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How Companies Turn your Data into Money

How Companies Turn your Data into Money

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Have you looked up plane tickets to Florida, and bam, you get bombarded with pop-up ads for sunscreen, swimsuits, and affordable ocean side hotels? Or better yet, you talked about that new lotion with your friends and immediately got an exclusive discount for it online? Creepy, right?.

Is Your Smart Assistant Spying on You?

Is Your Smart Assistant Spying on You?

Let’s try to find out how that happens and if there’s a way to stop it. Your digital assistant isn’t the only one listening to you Imagine this: you get into the comfort of your own home and tell your smart device to order you some Chinese food, then ask it to check if there are any tickets left for that Beyonce show you’ve been dying to see. And while this information isn’t really secret or personal, you still wouldn’t want some random people over hearing conversations and requests like that, right?.

 Well, there’s a good chance they actually are! It turns out certain companies hire people to over hear the conversations you’re holding with your digital helper. Why? Well, you might believe your favors are fulfilled by some digital magic, but they actually still need manual processing. And because millions of smart speakers are purchased every year, there are thousands of people across the globe, in countries like the US, Costa Rica, and Romania, to name a few, that go through these conversations.

They work nine-hour shifts, processing around 1,000 audio clips a day. They transcribe, annotate, and then feed the recordings back into the software to improve how the digital mind comprehends human speech, according to the companies themselves. They claim to respect the security and privacy of customers, and that it’s only done in random cases to improve the quality of their product. Plus, employees don’t know the name or location of the person they’re listening to, only the device’s serial number. If you still don’t like the idea of being listened to, and later targeted for ads on the products and services you’ve inquired about, there is a way out. You can opt out of the software improvement program in the privacy settings on your device. However, even then your voice recordings might be analyzed by hand as they get reviewed, so be careful about what you ask your smart speaker!.

How Free Mobile Apps Follow Your Every Move

How Free Mobile Apps Follow Your Every Move

Some mobile apps know exactly when and where you’re going Do you have an app that keeps track of your jogging routes or tells you where the nearest gas station is? And if so, did you carefully read all the terms and conditions it asked you to agree with as you installed it? Not really? Well then, you actually stand with millions of others who granted the app the right to trace their location and, what’s more, pass this information over to other companies to analyze industry trends. In fact, many users do understand there’s gotta  be a catch that comes with free apps, and the rewards they receive must some how be compensated for.

How Weather and News Apps Sell Your Location Data

How Weather and News Apps Sell Your Location Data

In 2018, The New York Times found at least 75 companies that get information on the location of those who look at the weather or latest news from their favorite apps. Their databases have information on up to 200 million gadgets in the US alone. They sell this information to advertisers that later create location-targeted ads.

The same research found that over 1,000 popular apps offer to enable location services, and users often agree to do so without paying any attention to it. The companies that buy this information claim they only use it to analyze the general trends of customer behavior, but that still doesn’t sound really comforting when you know someone is tracing your every step so they can later sell you their goods or services.

The same happens when you load your favorite coffee shop or store loyalty app on your smart phone. You might get free drinks or other discounts for that, but just remember it’s also a way of pulling data from your phone that you voluntarily give away. So, if you don’t want anyone to track your daily route and learn what store you shop at and what dentist you visit, be careful about which apps you install and disable location services!

The Price of Free: How Companies Build Your Consumer Profile (and Sell It)

The Price of Free: How Companies Build Your Consumer Profile (and Sell It)

There’s some information you voluntarily give away without realizing it You use the Internet for lots of different purposes and quite often you give it your data without realizing someone else might be looking into it. It can happen at dating sites, which sell the gender, age and zip codes of their users to other companies.

When you get digital coupons, you save some shopping money, but you also create a detailed profile that goes to someone’s databank. Music providers often let you create playlists and listen to all of your favorite hits online, but at the same time, they also gather your personal data and sell it to advertising agencies.

See Also

Whenever you take part in a fun survey or online test (we all love to find out who we were in our previous life, right?) and choose one of your social networking accounts to sign in, you also grant access to your list of friends and give away their personal information, as well. In fact, social networking websites are a big catch all in all. They offer so many targeted ads, some people suspect they actually spy on their users through their microphones and show you the new product before you even type it in the search bar. And as you stay logged in and surf the web, the URLs you visit get time stamped and can be paired with your personal information from your profile.

Cookies still help companies to analyze your Internet habits The most popular way for corporations to learn about you and clter their services to you is using Web cookies. In fact, there are companies whose main goal is building your consumer portrait, including your age, gender, diet, job title, and income. If your relationship just ended and you’re looking for help, be prepared to get tons of relationship counselling ads or inspirational stories from those who’ve been there. And, it works like this in any field and situation.

Protect Yourself from Online Tracking: Understanding the Threats and Solutions

Protect Yourself from Online Tracking: Understanding the Threats and Solutions

Companies who hunt for this data assign you with an ID instead of using your real name. They’re pretty creative with the tools they use, but the most common methods are seeding, canvas fingerprinting and cookie syncing. You already know how seeding works – using your social networking account to get access to your friends’ data. Canvas fingerprinting is a way of drawing an invisible picture on the websites you visit. It lets them analyze your OS, software, and even browser history. And, cookie syncing speaks for itself: it means sharing your information between linked websites using cookies.

If you don’t mind your consumer behavior being analyzed, remember it can actually be used against you, and not just privacy-wise. High-value shoppers, for example, are often offered more expensive products, or even higher prices than other customers pay for the same thing. And, some experts believe this spying on your web activity could cost you a job. For example, you could be looking up some medical condition out of curiosity, and your prospective employers could find out about it and deny you.

Protecting Your Data Online: VPNs, Anti-Tracking Tools, and More

Protecting Your Data Online: VPNs, Anti-Tracking Tools, and More

The good news is you can protect your data if you change your individual cookie policy using a VPN, install special anti-tracking extensions or disable Flash on your computer. Do you know of any other way to protect your data? Let’s help make the Internet a safer place together – mention them in the comment section below!.                  

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