If there’s one thing that IT community can agree on it has to be the flagrant disregard for privacy online. The Web and Rank blog has posted up many articles in the hope that the average everyday user of the Internet will start to take seriously their online privacy. The current situation sees us trapped between the two heads of vicious dragon, one head attacks us from the legitimate world of the large organisations above us and the other head attacks us from the criminal underworld below us.
Information brokers and data scrapers harvest all of our data, organise it into managable packets and build profiles on us based on that information. This information then becomes super valuable to people finder firms, advertising firms, insurance companies and many more. This is the legal head of the dragon, the information brokers are allowed to gather the information they do because it is either in public records such as registrations, license and government records; semi-public records such as social networks, directories and credit agencies; and finally private records such as private databases, paid surveys and catalog sales. The problems arise when your employee learns that you are looking for a new job or an insurance firms knows that you have searched for a medical condition. We should not on any level consent for our personal data to be used in this way.
The other head of the dragon operates in the criminal underworld and is not sanctioned under law. The collected and organised personal data can also be used by scam artists selling you bogus products; they know you want certain products based on the information in your profile ‘I know what you like.’ Stalkers can also use your information ‘I know where you live.’ Finally and probably the worst are identity thieves ‘I know how to be you.’
The online privacy issue is a two headed dragon, one head smiles at you because it has legal authorisation, the other one you don’t see because it hides in the shadows of the underworld. It’s time that we all took this seriously and took measures to block cookies and trackers, to stop sharing such personal data and stay out of reach of the data snatchers. Visit http://www.reputation.com/getprivacy for more information.