Do You Know What Data is Being Gathered about You?
Most people have no idea about how much data is collected about them; do you know what data is being gathered about you? If you use the internet, a smartphone, a smart TV, a tablet or any other device that has Internet access, if you use credit and debit cards, if you shop with a supermarket, retail store, or pharmacy saver cards, then every single day anywhere from a few to hundreds of pieces of data are being gathering about you. Personal information is at a premium. Everything from what you purchased at the grocery store, to what medicine you might have picked up, to what you posted on Twitter is all uploaded, saved, stored, bought, and sold. Our shopping habits, our repeat purchases, our favorite brands, our political party, our favorite TV show, the deodorant we use, our opinion on fracking, how much weight we lost or gained, even our most frequently purchased toilet paper brand is all data that is potentially kept about us.
Data brokers keep extensive individual files on a large portion of the population. The uses of this information are extremely varied and complex. Sometimes the data is used to make predictions about our future behavior. How does that work? Well, let’s surmise what banks, insurance companies, employees and loan officers would view as a “low risk” person: they work steadily, they save money as often as possible, they don’t engage in risky behavior, they are predictable, they pay their bills on time, they don’t overspend, they don’t make extravagant purchases such as very expensive cars, boats or other luxury items unless they can afford them. That’s just a basic outline, of course there are many other contributing factors such as alcohol consumption, lifestyle, doctor and dentist visits, and other things. But basically, if you live a calm, quiet life, vote and pay your bills on time, you’re not seen as a very high risk. A high risk person might have some of these traits: they engage in risky behaviors such as extreme sports and jumping out of planes, they are thrill seekers, they don’t save much money, they spend extravagantly, they spend other people’s money extravagantly, they are frequently in legal battles, they are often accused of inappropriate behavior, they have unprotected sex with a wide variety of people, they don’t pay their bills on time, they like to show off, they make very extravagant purchases, even when they can’t afford them, they are unpredictable in both their behavior and their speech.
Between these two extremes lay most of the population. Most people are a combination of low and high risk. For instance, you may be a mostly predictable person who saves and works and pays bills, but your friends can convince you to go bungee jumping, snowboarding, or to take a safari vacation in the Amazon Rain Forest. Maybe you go out for a weekend a month and go dancing and have a few drinks. Do these slight deviations make you a high risk? Most common sense appraisals would say no, this does not make you a higher risk, it makes you an even lower risk because people who have solid friendships and let loose on occasion have a lower risk for health and mental problems, which ultimately makes them a better bet for a loan.
A result of all this data gathering is that our personal information ends up online. Various websites purchase data from data brokers and use it to create background check or people finder sites. If you find your name and address are online, contact an internet removal service who can show you how to remove your information from the internet. They can also delete information and remove your address from the internet.