Data Brokers: The Grim Reapers of Personal Privacy
At Airlock, we spend a lot of time researching how to best protect our data while online.
That effort led us to build the Airlock app, which gives users personalized Action Items that limit the data that businesses are collecting about them.
But the more research we did, the more uncomfortable we became about a whole new group of companies: data brokers.
Never heard of a data broker? You’re not the only one – these companies lurk in the shadows of our digital economy.
They buy or collect data from wherever they can (government databases, credit card purchase data, loyalty card data, etc) compile it, and then sell it anyone who’s willing to pay. We’re talking about a lot of data: Axciom – the largest data broker – markets themselves as having an average of 1,500 data points for every person in their database. Last year, they earned nearly $1 billion selling this data.
Curious what this data looks like? It includes things like your Social Insurance Number, family members’ birthdays, religion, political affiliation, voting history, medical information, sexual orientation, court history, etc. You name it, they have it on file and are shamelessly selling it.
Most of the folks who buy this data do it to show you better ads. However, it’s also made available to any individual who is willing to pay for it. The image below shows how some of these transactions work.
In our opinion, this group of companies represents the single largest contributor to the breakdown in consumer privacy. But don’t trust us: Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO) agrees with us and has called for regulation.
The response from regulators? Silence.
Looks like we’re going to have to save ourselves.
So the Airlock team set out to exhaustively research this market; we’ve identified the biggest data brokers (see below) and figured out how to get our information removed from their databases.
Along the way, we learned that we can remove data on behalf of others. So we’re offering this information removal as a paid service.
For $25, we’ll work directly with these brokers to ensure that your data is removed from their databases. That’s one big win for your privacy.
Contact us to learn more!