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In modern life, privacy is no longer a given — people are being tracked on their daily commute, at work, online, and when they’re shopping. That’s because data is valuable. In 2018, American corporations invested an estimated $19 billion attaining and interpreting consumer data. Data is a commodity to be sold for advertising, used by government agencies to stop crimes, or for companies to increase workplace productivity. Almost nothing is private anymore. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more narratives .
It’s devilishly difficult to keep anything private anymore.
As Wired pointed out, data is this century’s oil. Just as petroleum induced corporations rich in the 20 th Century, personal data is now making companies billions. And that comes at the cost of people’s privacy.
In modern life, privacy is relinquished in so many courses — from your daily commute, to how productive you are at work, to what you search on Google, to what you buy in a store. Almost nothing is truly private anymore.
But the concept is still important. As columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things — the innards of your brain and nerve, the workings of your brain — and the borders between those things and the world outside.”
The New York Times’ “Privacy Project” looked into all the different ways people are losing their privacy. It’s a thorough, often bewildering examination.
Here are some of the ways companies and the government are invading your privacy every day.
Privacy is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “freedom from agitation or intrusion.” Personal data can be anything from social security and bank account amounts to Instagram photos and Google investigations. Business Insider
Make no mistake — this data is valuable. In 2018, American corporations spent an estimated $19 billion getting and analyzing customer data. Third parties known as “data brokers” collect the information and sell it. Reuters
It’s sometimes hard to conceptualize where that data proceeds, but The Atlantic described the trails they take as “invisible ‘supply chains'” that “create marketplaces out of behavioral data.”
When someone has a digital conversation or makes a purchase, that’s recorded. That record is shared with a third party, which can sell the data to another organization.
Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, told the Financial Times that the data market had boomed so much there are now “privacy deathstars, ” like Oracle and Nielson, which can supply hundreds of articles of data on different people. Reuters
Source: Financial Times
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