From the “like” you gave your friends on their politically charged social media posts to the location you shared on apps, everything that you voluntarily share online is fair game for data mining. Your personal information has value – just like money.
Data mining’s purpose is to build an “accurate” profile of your behavior, preferences and socio-economic status without your knowledge. Even previously deleted posts are included in this personalized profile.
Many argue that data mining provides a customized experience online yet your data is shared, purchased and sold between hundred of companies and you may never use their services. With so many online services collecting and sharing information about you – from dating apps to online retailers – your personal profile is more comprehensive than you may realize. This is a major concern for many privacy advocates. Here are tips to help you manage your privacy and reduce your digital exhaust.
Change your settings
Look over your privacy settings on your browser, social media profiles and other online accounts and make sure you’re providing as little information as possible by turning off your location and cookies and opting out of other online trackers.
Use ad blockers or privacy add-ons
Tools like Privacy Badger from the Electronic Frontier Foundation can help you turn off creepy trackers running in the background on some sites, as well as those ever-present social media icons on websites you visit.
Log out every time
For an extra layer of privacy, log out of your social media accounts when browsing the web to avoid trackers from sending information to social media channels.
Consider using pro privacy alternatives
As a result of the data mining, concerned users turn to alternative tools, such as browsers, VPN services and social media services that help to hide their online footprints.
About the author
Melissa Arroyo is a privacy advocate and marketing manager at SpiderOak, a Zero Knowledge services company dedicated to helping people retain their privacy online via Kloak, Encryptr and SpiderOakONE.