By Dr. Don Vaughn PhD, Invisibly
and Dr. Terry Kibiloski
Did you know that everything you do on the Internet is captured and becomes a part of your online profile? Every search, click, like, dislike, comment, survey entry, post, and so on are captured to create a valuable profile of you. Your digital footprint is constantly growing and is stored on thousands of devices worldwide. If you are not aware of how private companies are harvesting your demographic and psychographic information to make a profit, you may want to watch The Great Hack trailer before reading the rest of this article. Once you watch this video, you will quickly realize that the information on the Internet is not free. You are paying for it in multiple hidden ways far greater than you can imagine. You might also want to watch the 1984 movie trailer to understand that George Orwell could have never imagined that Big Brother would not have to spy on us to create a dossier of every person on the planet, instead we would willingly, or unknowingly, give up everything about ourselves as we gleefully play on the Internet. The company Invisibly recently helped us increase our awareness through an important survey.
It’s no surprise that the convenience of social media and online shopping comes with a cost – data privacy, or more appropriately, the lack of it. From April 23rd – May 3rd, 2021, Invisibly surveyed 1,320 people to learn whether they approve of having their data sold for profit, how much they know about it, whether they want to have more control over what happens to their data, and if they had any interest in monetizing their data. Turns out 79% of people don’t approve of companies profiting from their data. Why? Likely because people have not consented to their data being licensed or sold, and that is a key area Invisibly is focused on changing. “Invisibly is giving people control over what data is licensed or shared with companies. Data consent is a huge industry issue right now and we are on a mission to give people control and consent over the data they share.” says Dr. Don Vaughn, PhD, Head of Product at Invisibly.
Here’s some things Invisibly learned from their survey:
- 79% of people do not approve of companies profiting from their data.
- 71% of respondents know that companies routinely profit off their data while 29% of respondents were unaware.
- 77% of respondents want to control who can access their data.
- Men are more likely to be aware that their data can be sold for profit.
You can see the full report with all data here (which includes more graphs and data).
If you were not aware of your personal data being sold for big profits on the Internet, hopefully this article has helped you understand that while you may not be able to personally stop it, you can be more careful careful with what you search, click, like, dislike, comment, post, and so on. Know that those fun surveys that pop up on the Internet are not for your pleasure but for companies to collect even more data for your profile. Finally, be extremely careful about the safety information you give away to those with ill intentions, like your children’s names, where they go to school, the names of their favorite teacher, when you will be gone on vacation, and so many other social media posts that you innocently share with your friends and families.
Dr. Don Vaughn, PhD, Head of Product at Invisibly