What do they know about you?

February 27, 2012

There are new warnings afoot for us to protect ourselves online.

If you are one of Google’s 193 million Gmail users and are concerned about the amount of your personal information available to advertisers online, you may want to follow these steps and opt out of Google’s new privacy policy, limiting the amount of data they will collect about you in the future. This article says Google is ramping up another effort to construct user profiles that better track our personal information, including online usage, in order to tailor advertising for each of us. The clock is ticking: you have until March 1 to do it or the new data collection practices will start.

All are skeptical that opting out will do much to limit the information available about you online. And that includes the federal government, which is proposing “Do Not Track” legislation to protect consumers but is not promising a complete reversal of the status quo. In this article, one official is quoted as saying, “This is stopping some data collection, but it’s not stopping all data collection.” 

Identity theft now includes people filing fake taxes in your name and collecting the returns.

This article suggests that you put your own name into a search engine to find out what sort of information is available online about you.

That’s because it’s big bucks to advertisers to know who you are and what you do online. Last year, database giant Acxiom generated over $1.2 billion revenue from selling personal information.

According to this source, "Prevailing wisdom used to hold that a person’s name, date of birth, and social security number were the Big Three of identity theft—keep those details under lock and key and you’ll likely be safe from potential fraudsters. Now, the same Pew report suggests that 87 percent of Americans can be identified with an even more basic trifecta of personal data: gender, zip code, and date of birth—oh my! Many people give out that kind of information when they’re signing up for various online services In addition, facts like that can often be gleaned from profiles and postings on social networking sites and other sites that list year of graduation from high school or college."

Data collection for advertising is one thing, but there are new warnings about complex frauds that even include filing taxes and collecting returns with fake information using other peoples’ identities.

And new scams are popping up every day.

Extricating yourself from the data that is available about you online is somewhat possible but not a complete cure. And it’s not easy. This article says it’s a long process and requires sending the data collecting companies even more of your personal information.


Published: Feb. 27, 2012

Author: Allison O'Leary Murray


Word Count: 444

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Article Links

  1. Email Marketing Reports
  2. How to Opt Out of Google's New Privacy Policy (Sort ...
  3. Google tracks consumers’ online activities across products, and users can’t ...
  4. Opt-Out Provision Would Halt Some, but Not All, Web Tracking ...
  5. Reputation Management and Social Media | Pew Research Center
  6. 404 - Squidoo Page Not Found
  7. According to this source
  8. there are new warnings about complex frauds that even include ...
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