What is Our Private Data Being Used For?
The data we provide to apps, companies, social media, grocery stores, even our local pharmacy, gets stored and saved somewhere. Data brokers gather and harvest this data. They purchase data when necessary to add to our individual files. Sometimes they fill in the blanks. This personal information is then used for many purposes. Some good, some not so good, and some really bad. Some of the good uses are to improve services and features that various developers of apps code. The data can also be used to give us more of what we already like, for instance, if we love ice cream, when we are out of town, we can get an alert for local shops with the best vanilla bean around.
Other good uses can improve our health by offering content that encourages us to eat better and exercise more. It’s possible that a fair amount of AI is being used on each of us individually to “customize” our experiences when interacting with various apps and technology. Many reports have been made that banks are making recordings of our voices so that they can deter fraud when a criminal calls the bank posing as us. Other reports have indicated that the same thing is occurring with “personal assistants.” Apps like Siri may be recording your voice patterns to provide AI developers and government agencies with test data for voice tracking for security purposes. Our thumbprint that is recorded for phone access may be being used in much the same way. Many have often believed that data is transmitted from our IOS and Android devices back to the companies themselves who then use or sell the data. These actions can be seen as negative or positive, depending on your personal view, certainly taking our data without asking is negative and a violation of our right to privacy.
Not so good purposes of collecting our data include pushing advertisements on us that we may or may not want or need, tracking our location to make unwanted suggestions about what to do or see when we are in a particular area. Trying to sell us things we don’t want and otherwise trying to predict our choices and decisions. Some very bad uses include weighing our insurance rates based on “predictions” about our future behavior. Denying health coverage due to predictions made about the status of our health, or the health of our parents or other family members. Denying us jobs based on our family members actions or our personal opinions. Increasing our interest rates based on our potential for risk as per a guess at our past behavior.
Our data is also used by various business routing themselves as background check companies and people finder aids. These companies buy, gather and post information about us online to lure others into paying a subscription fee to get more information about us. Whether it be a potential partner, someone you just started dating, a former boyfriend or girlfriend, or an acquaintance, these sites prey on people’s fears, jealousy, and curiosity. If you want to run a background check on someone you are hiring for non-business, personal jobs such as child care or elder care, there are many legitimate background check companies to use, and most employees will willingly submit to one.
If you find that your own personal information or that of your family members is showing up on one of these background check sites, then you can take steps to get it removed. You can delete information about you, depending on the app, you can also look for the help of an internet removal service to find out how to remove your information from the web. There are many actions a good internet removal service can take to secure your personal information and keep it offline.