• Safi Bello

How To Guide For: A Look At What's Happening To Your Data Online And Offline -- Is It Really Pri

In the wake of the three year old Yahoo account breach that's been going on in which sensitive user information including names, telephone numbers, dates of birth, encrypted passwords and unencrypted security questions that could be used to reset a password was hacked affecting 1 billion user accounts, I thought I'd take a look at data that consumers share online as well as offline. How much control do you really have over your data once it's out there? Is it really private and protected? With the Yahoo account breach you might be thinking about deleting your Yahoo account. But before you do this, lets look at an instance that could cause your personal information to be at risk, starting with when you apply for a credit card --- once you sign up for credit cards companies and marketing firms start gathering information about the potential customers -- like their names and addresses, tracking credit card purchases, and asking them to fill out questionnaires, so they can provide them promotional offers. Today in the digital age we are giving up more and more private, personal information and not realizing that it is being collected and personalized and maybe even sold to third parties not only online but offline as well. Let's not forget the AT&T revelation alleging that AT&T was secretly selling customers' data to law enforcement as part of a program called Hemisphere. According to internal records revealed by The Daily Beast back in October --- Hemisphere is being sold to local police departments and used to investigate everything from murder to Medicaid fraud and its costing US taxpayers millions of dollars every year. Also there was the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) (page 5) case against Facebook that accused Facebook of overriding users’ privacy settings and exposing consumers’ information to a broader audience than they intended when they provided it to Facebook. According to the FTC these disclosures can lead to substantial harm, namely threats to the consumers. So if Yahoo could be breached, AT&T was allegedly selling customer data and Facebook was allegedly exposing consumer information why wouldn't the question come to mind maybe this is happening more than I know and how do I know if my data is really private and protected once its out there. Well according to a 2014 article by CBS in which the now former Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, Julie Brill stated "We have lost control of our most personal information. Dossiers are being put together which contains information that is individually identified to an individual or linked to an individual". Brill then says "I think most people have no idea that it's being collected and sold and that it is personally identifiable about them, and that the information is basically a profile of them". This gives the consumer insight into what is happening to their information once its online and offline. To get more information on what's happening to your data online and offline ---and if it is really private and protected click on the pictures below to read the articles.

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