Personal Data Market Is the Same As Any Other Business

Daniel Tácha
Nov 11, 2019 · 4 min read

Personal data have the price of gold in todayʻs world. And they can be collected by anyone who can access them. These are social media operators, web browsers, mobile phone companies, financial institutions, governments or businesses offering goods or services. But not just them. Third parties buy the data from them — for example advertising, research or data agencies.

The main reason why everyone wants our personal data is that they can be perfectly sold nowadays. The value of these data consists for instance in the information regarding what you look for on the internet, what you are interested in. It means anything that can be offered and sold.

The good news is that thanks to the new European legislative,
known as GDPR each EU citizen has the right to access any kind of his or her
personal information.

Anyone who needs to know the utmost about us, is interested in our personal data. These entities want to sell us something or get some information that can help them to make concrete decisions. For example a restaurant chain wants to obtain information that will reveal how many people appear in the locality where the chain wants to open its new branch. The mobile operators data disclose the number of people who come to this area every day and payment cards data reveal what is the financial standing of the people who pay in local shops by cards. Do you think itʻs far-fetched?

No at all. Have you noticed for instance that when you lastly searched for information about summer holidays, you were receiving holiday trips offers until the autumn? That is no coincidence. This a typical business with your data which were used by your web browser for targeting the advertising that had been paid by travel agencies.

Data on sale

It is highly delusive to think that our data are a closely guarded secret. Many
services are not for free thanks to the praiseworthy interests of their providers
but due to the fact that by means of these services they find out anything
about us they need. Even modern technologies must be paid, so they work on
the basis of selling or exchanging the information about users.

A negative example can be the British company Cambridge Analytica which
collects and analyzes our personal data that were used for supporting the
election campaign of the U.S. president Donald Trump. This was happening not only in the United States but also in Great Britain or in the Czech Republic. So far it has been found out that this company has bought personal data from Facebook related to at least 50 million users.

We are not talking by far not about the cases when someone uses our data
unethically. Much more frequent are those cases when companies and
organizations want to get our data just because they want to know what and
how they can offer us.

Tescoʻs customer cards

The chain can use your data for its purposes but it can easily provide them to
third parties. It can be either for money or for free in terms of some
cooperation, for example with suppliers. If you doubt about it letʻs recall the
recent scandal of the British chain Tesco which sold data about consumer
behaviour of 16 million customers who were using Tescoʻs customer cards. The data were sold by means of Tescoʻs data company Dunnhumby with a fantastic profit of more than CZK 1.5 billion. According to unofficial reports Tesco clients data were targeted for example by Unilever, Nestle and Heinz.

The good news is…

Data systems collect all data provided by us. Examine and evaluate them. The personal data advisor Datari and its web/mobile application helps to make personal data retrieval and understanding easier for people. There is no reason why only big companies should profit from our data.

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