Your personal data is one thing you never want in the wrong hands, right? But in today’s world of ‘terms and conditions’ and ‘privacy policies’, without realising the consequences, we give away our information like it’s nothing.
But recent developments have shown us that these social media websites are gathering all of our personal information, right from our culinary preferences to our sexual orientation and selling it away to advertisers.
Here are some ways your personal data is compromised in the ‘digital’ world.
1. Unsecured internet connections make your information vulnerable to hackers.
Ever had one of those days when your WiFi and data plan both refuse to work and you have to get some work done? What do you do? You either go to a cyber cafe or your local coffee shop which offers free internet. The problem with unsecured network connections is that they are very vulnerable to cyber-criminal activity.
2. Online shopping websites store your bank account details forever.
A lot of us don’t have the time to deal with cash while placing orders online and end up using digital payments. Even though most websites claim that your credit card or debit card information won’t be used without your permission, websites with poor security and unencrypted data can become easy targets for hackers.
3. Location detectors monitor your movement through several apps on your smartphone.
Ever had one of those apps that require you to turn on your location? Well, apparently, applications like maps aren’t the only ones who monitor your movement; other apps have access to your whereabouts all the time.
4. Identity theft is a potential threat if your data gets in the wrong hands.
While most of the data sharing is legal, the chances of your personal information being illegally stolen are quite high. It is impossible to go about life these days and not share your private data to some extent but watch out where you put it out. From your bank account details to your home address, everything is susceptible to being stolen.
5. Advertisers monitor our ‘clicks’ to figure out every single thing about us.
Probably the main industry that benefits from our personal data is advertising. Since everything is online now, brokers sell our data to advertising agencies so they could ‘categorise’ us according to what we click on and show us ‘desirable’ ads.
6. Our personal data is sold by brokers to companies.
We don’t give two thoughts before entering our information on any website these days. But what we aren’t aware of is that there is a whole industry which sells and buys our data from these companies.
7. Websites know more about our preferences than us.
A lot of websites track our movement with each click to figure out our tastes, preferences and choices. From how much time we spend on a page to what products we express an interest in, everything is monitored by these websites.
8. Social scientists study everything ‘digital’ about us.
Your data isn’t just being studied by advertisers but social scientists too have a solid interest in your personal information. Your online profile is being used by these scientists to determine how you react towards certain posts in comparison to other users. No activity done by you goes unnoticed.
9. Insurance companies use our data to set their rates.
Insurance companies also express special interest in our personal information and set their rates based on what they can gather from our data. They might even track our social media behaviour pattern to determine or deny any claims.
10. Real life theft becomes a possiblity if your whereabouts are out on the internet.
Constantly posting about our whereabouts can land you in a lot of trouble because hackers and thieves are always on the lookout for vulnerable targets. Going on a trip and announcing it on social media can help these thieves to monitor your movement to know enough about your location. This tells them that your house could be unattended and can lead to them planning a potential burglary.
Sources: Mental Floss and SEM.