A Google search for your name can reveal surprising personal information. I will go out until my address and birthday. It’s very unpleasant, and you can publish your information like this! However, the information that appears on the first page of the search results is actually said to be the tip of the iceberg, and it is scary considering the possibility that personal information is being bought and sold out of sight. In fact, behind the scenes that don’t appear on the first page of Google Search, our personal information is being collected, centrally managed, and sold. No matter how careful you are in managing your personal information, you are probably part of that information as long as you live in the United States. Today is a little scary, but it’s an article to raise awareness.
In the United States, where the laws regarding the collection, management and buying and selling of personal information are loose (there are strict but loose loopholes), the consumer data industry is now a major industry, an industrial segment worth $ 200 virions. that’s right. In an individualist society, wherever you go, you are forced to sign a ton of consent forms and disclaimers, while personal information as a Public Record is “public” accessible to everyone. Because it is a thing, it is also a country where you can check amazing personal information on the Internet. By associating these public information with various information that comes and goes on the Internet, we create one large information file about an individual. The sources of information that make up an information file are:
Public Information : Marriage, Divorce, Birth, Immigration, Home and Car Registration and Collateral (Loans), Business Registration, DMV Related, Criminal Records, Bankruptcy Information, Occupational Recreation (eg Fishing) Licenses, Voting Rights Public records recorded by federal, state, local governments / affiliates, such as registrations
Consumption activity information : Purchasing history. What you bought, what you didn’t buy, how much you paid, payment method, loyalty member information, coupon usage, etc.
Online activity information : Social media activity information, web browsing history, quiz / questionnaire response history, game app usage history, etc.
Information provided by an individual: Information provided by an individual by clicking without reading Fine Prints (detailed consent details), such as when entering personal information online. Sometimes they agree without noticing the resale of information.
If each item is individual, the disparate information will be connected more and more, and the overall information management of the individual will be managed, and by utilizing it, a mechanism for marketing customized to the individual’s taste will be completed. There are companies that sell information and make money, and there are companies that buy information and make money.
The consumer data industry is also a loosely regulated segment for its very profitability. At present, at the federal level, the rights that individuals can exercise in managing or buying or selling their personal information are not well documented.
Differences between consumer data companies and credit reporting companies
Somehow similar to a consumer data company, there is a credit reporting company that manages an individual’s credit history and credit score. Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, etc. are major players. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) of 1970, these credit reporting companies are not allowed to disclose personal credit information indiscriminately. When a third party accesses personal information, it needs a good reason, and in some circumstances it cannot be disclosed without the permission of the person. In addition, if there is a disclosure, the individual can confirm to whom the disclosure was made. You can now also do Credit Freeze to prevent third parties from accessing your files.
In the consumer data industry, on the other hand, there is no such protection of individual rights. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a report in 2014 entitled Data Brokers: A Call for Transparency and Accountability to help consumers get a feel for what they are doing about buying and selling their information. I proposed to the Congress to put in place a law with the aim of creating a mechanism to access / confirm my personal information, but I have continued to do so.
In California, a law called the California Consumer Privacy Act was enacted in 2020, taking a major step toward personal information management, but I don’t think its effectiveness is felt so much at the individual level. Legal arrangements will be gradually made (as in the case of credit reporting companies), but it seems that it will take some time until then.
In addition, to protect personal information, some people say “I try not to use credit cards too much” or “I do not shop online as much as possible”, but such a level of caution probably makes little sense. I don’t think there is. It may be possible to minimize the information available about purchasing history, preferences, etc., but other public information is well present. If you have a house, your address is always public information, and you don’t know where or how the information you entered in the online form to get a Covid test or vaccine, such as this time. If you go to the hospital, our personal information will be converted into data at the hospital, and you will not know where or how it is leaked. As long as we live in the United States, I think that it will become “one data” by any means.
It may be a little annoying if you receive DM emails for goods and services that suit your taste, or pop-up advertisements, but on the contrary, it may meet your needs, so much. It may not be a big problem (although sometimes it’s a little creepy to get recommendations like “Why do you know?”).
On the other hand, we want to avoid getting personal information into the hands of malicious people and causing problems such as ID fraud as much as possible. When accessing various public accounts, the date of birth is often used for identity verification, so it is a problem that such information is published online. In addition, it may fall into the hands of malicious people. Not long ago, in New Jersey, a judge in his 70s who hated him appeared with a gun at the home of a judge in a federal court (the judge is a Latin woman and is said to be a hate crime), and the judge was 20 years old. The case of murdering his son (whose target was the judge himself) is fresh in his memory. The judge is calling for the development of relevant legislation, blaming the lawyer who committed her crimes for knowing her personal information, such as her home address. Such incidents are rare, but in cases such as divorce mediation and custody dispute, or domestic violence that you do not want to know where you are, personal information disclosure can be a serious problem.