How much does your personal data cost big companies? It might come as a surprise, but your personal data, including your health, shopping history and financial status could be sold for less than a dollar by online data brokerage firms.
The competition between companies to gather information about users in the online environment is getting intensified, and the price they are sold for to be used in marketing strategies felt even to $ 0.0005 for data concerning the age, gender, and location of a person, as Financial Times relates.
In the last years, consumer data collection developed into a billion-dollar industry, in which the major players obtain information analyzing online searches, the activity on social networks, shopping, and public data, according to the Financial Times. Their work is mostly unregulated, while people are increasingly worried about the strict supervision by the states.
The “Files” results include thousands of details about people, including health problems, financial reliability, and even data on pregnant women. Companies use algorithms to determine gathered how to anticipate and how to influence consumer behavior, based on that data.
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Simple information about age, gender, and location is sold even for $0.0005 per person, or $0.5 per 1,000 people, according to price bids obtained by Financial Times.
Information about persons considered influential on social networks has a higher price, of $ 0.00075, or $ 0.75 per 1,000 of such individuals.
The details concerning income and shopping history are slightly more valuable, priced with $ 0.0001 per person.
According to some industry sources, the complete “file” of a person sells for less than a dollar.
Whereas basic information about consumers is more readily available, data brokers follow even more details. For $ 0.26 per person, LeadsPlease.com sells names and email addresses of people with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and depression. The information also includes details about their medication.
Another company, ALC Data, sells a list of people suffering from certain diseases and classified according to financial reliability. Among the buyers of data provided by ALC include insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, telecom company Sprint Nextel and energy company TXU Energy. ALC also follows data about 80% of births in the United States.
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Federal Trade Commission of the USA and a Congressional Committee are investigating the brokers’ activity data, to determine the quantity of information they have and how they use it. In the USA there are few laws to protect the privacy of a person’s data, writes Financial Times.
The data collection industry operates under a set of principles created by companies, which prohibit the collection of information about children, and also information about your health and financial situation. According to them, the sale of information resulted from medical records and prescriptions are allowed as long as the identification data have been deleted.
LeadsPlease.com and ALC Data indicated that some information concerning the health of the patients was provided even by them, so be sure to carefully read everything you sign, especially while completing surveys.