Does Our Government Buy Our Private Data From Data Brokers?
Many people realize now that their data is being saved, stored and sold to a wide variety of companies and industries, but does our own government buy our private data from data brokers too? The short answer is, yes. They do purchase from data brokers and even directly from social media and other companies who harvest our personal information. The fact that our government already has massive amounts of information about each of us as individuals does not mean they aren’t interested in getting more. If you think about all of the personal information the government already has including, our date of birth, social security number, marriages, divorces, financial information, employment information, disability information, insurance, inheritance, taxes, homes owned, cars owned, property sold, the list goes on and on. They have a detailed account of our entire lives because most of our lives and actions leave a paper trail. Smart contracts might eliminate some of the damage, but it will take a while and it won’t ever provide us with complete privacy. We are never in control of what we are allowed to share and not share when it comes to certain transactions and life circumstances. Perhaps that’s why many people are so pathetic when it comes to the taking, saving, buying and selling of our social media lives.
For the government, having a complete file on large groups of people allows them to get a more complete look at the behavior of their citizens. They may use this information for a variety of reasons. To set policy, to understand the current political climate, to see if there are trends towards certain behaviors, like moving away from plastics and changing our diets. A lot of the data is put to good use, however, privacy evangelists are concerning that we may be setting a president to give the government unbridled access to our most personal thoughts and opinions. Does the government really need to know that your Aunt Tilly died last month? Or that you had a third date with that person you met on Tinder? No. They don’t. Furthermore, it’s a given that if any large entity is gathering and using our personal information without our knowledge or explicit consent, then there is a very large chance that it might be used for nefarious purposes. We all have a right to live our lives without interruption or interference from the government, provided we are living in peace and not harming our fellow citizens.
This is a hot button issue for many people, particularly those who feel the government should have no involvement at all with individual freedom, life, and liberty. For others, they are completely detached and could care less who has their information. Still, others actually like the idea that someone needs to know what they ate for lunch or where they bought their new shoes. Wherever you stand on the topic, I think we can all agree that having data like our phone numbers, home addresses, former spouse names and other data online for anyone to access is a big fail. Even those who love attention do not want their phone number broadcast all over the world wide web.
If you find that your private data has been showing up in places it ought not, then you can take a few specific actions to stop it or get it addressed. First, do a search for your name, then do one for your address. Use a few different browsers, because they will give you various results. You can find out how to remove your information from the internet through a good internet removal service. They often can delete information and remove your address from the internet.