Published July 2, 2018
The world generates a tremendous amount of data every day. It should come as no surprise because over 3.5 billion searches are made every day.
Data abuse is a big problem, though, and so we asked Matt Wheeler from online digital marketing agency knowmad.com here to tell you how data abuse online works and how you can protect yourself from it.
How is Data Abused?
Data abuse is a big problem because when it happens it can fall into the hands of criminal hackers or black hat marketers who can harvest your data for other means, says Matt.
Matt also says that data abuse could be a big problem for your company because of general lawsuits and the latest European Union (EU) GDPR laws. You could be held liable for any data abused as a result of your actions.
And it goes further than that. Data abuse could be something as simple as harvesting a user’s information without their consent.
It’s so easy to fall foul of data abuse laws these days.
Why Would Marketers Want Your Data?
Now that we know how data could potentially be abused, Matt explains that it doesn’t mean all data gathering campaigns are designed to work against your interests.
He says that marketers have valid reasons to collect your data. For example, if you sign up to a newsletter and it asks for your preferences in terms of the types of products you like marketers can use this data to provide you with information on products you may be interested in.
Amazon also uses your data so it can personalize your shopping experience.
Despite the fact that there are horror stories about data abuse, Matt says that many organizations want your data so they can improve your experience.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
Matt believes that protecting yourself is simple. Assuming that your computer has been completely protected through firewalls and other anti-virus programs, you can make conscious decisions to protect your data.
The number one way of doing this is to think about whether there’s a risk to giving out certain pieces of data. For example, does a website really need to know your address and zip code? Is your social security number necessary?
If it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t provide it, says Matt.
Another step you can take is by only giving out your data to websites you trust. Would you give your data to Amazon? Of course. But would you give your data to a strange online store that opened a week ago? Hopefully not.
Finally, beware of the data you store online. Cloud services based in places like the US, the UK, and France should be avoided. Matt says that they are known to tolerate government snooping, and they’re not particularly secure anyway.
See data as currency. Protect your data as you would your bank account.
Last Word – Keeping Your Data Safe
Matt doesn’t believe that you need to be paranoid about data abuse. Just be vigilant about where you store your data and who you decide to share your data with.
Are you worried about data abuse online?