The Exploitation of Personal Data

By The Lynx | Crypto Lynx | 24 Mar 2021


     We live in the digital age. With exponential growth in the tech industries, social media, and many more internet-based industries, our privacy is under threat like never before. You may ask, “So what?”

     Since plunging into the crypto world with at first, caution, then with both feet, I have noticed how many sites out there are based in countries that have very little if any government regulations about personal data mining. Even here in the U.S., a country with privacy laws, I have no confidence that my personal information will not be used in ways that may be an obstruction of my privacy.

     If you have ever received unsolicited and unwanted telemarketing calls, your private information is being used against you. If you receive spam emails, your private information is being used against you. That includes most all of us that use technology on any level. I can live with this by blocking calls and blocking email spammers, although it is an annoying waste of my time. However, I wonder, is there a threat for a more sinister use of my information?

     If you read no further than this, please at least take this simple advice: Be careful. Do not freely share your private information on just any site. It should go without saying that there is never a need to share your social security number, banking information, or crypto wallet codes in cyberspace unless it is a reputable site (and one that can guarantee your money if they are hacked) that absolutely needs your information to conduct business. Paypal might need your bank account information so that you can perform transactions on Coinbase or Ebay.

     The BBC recently had an interesting short video posted about data mining in relation to human beings. Humans and their private information are precious commodities to big companies. In their research they discovered that “Instead of natural resources and labor, what is now being appropriated is human life through its conversion into data.”

 How our personal data is exploited in unexpected ways - BBC Reel

     Big companies are doing this, but so are countless smaller companies as well. Recently, I was on one of those faucet sites, a reputable one (Cointiply). I was watching ads for coins. Most of the time I just briefly glance, and go back to collect my coins. Occasionally one of the ads will grab my attention. I never just click on an ad. I look them up and read independent reviews of their business. It is surprising how many of them have questionable business practices.

     I sometimes do online surveys. I always make sure that I answer questions in a way that will help these companies, but I am wary about giving them my personal information. I do not share my full name, street address, phone number, or exact birthday. I feel that it is none of their business. I may give a knick-name, alter my birthday by a few days, or just skip to the next survey if they get too personal. Changing my birthday by a couple of days will not hurt them if their only goal is collecting accurate demographic information. It would be unethical of me to lie about my ethnicity or say that I am 70 years old when I am actually 35. That would skew their results. I want to help them in exchange for their generous payments.

Ways your data is used:

It’s not all bad. I will give three examples of loss of privacy: one with which I am ok; another that bothers me, but I put up with it; and then a third that is dangerous.

Loyalty cards: Those coupons you get in the mail from your favorite grocery store come with a price: your privacy. I signed up for this loss of privacy when I signed up for my loyalty card. I use the coupons. I gladly punch my loyalty number into the scanner when I check out. I like to save a few bucks. I suppose that this level of privacy loss is worth it to me. I am not giving them any information that I believe will bring me any harm, and there is a measurable benefit.

     Like loyalty cards on steroids, there are even apps that will track your location at a mall or in town and send you an ad or a coupon for a business nearby that you have frequented in the past. Creepy, but not all that harmful.

5 Ways Your Information Is Being Exploited Every Day (makeuseof.com)

Social Media and/or Political Tracking: Politicians and political parties mine your data to influence elections, change policies, raise money, and influence your vote. I am not ok with this. But I tolerate it to some degree. I have a couple of social media accounts. I vote. If someone digs deep enough, they can learn a lot about me. But they can only learn the things about me that I am willing to share. The ball is in your court folks. I am an independent thinker. I do not fall for conspiracy theories and I don’t mind my opinion being out there about certain topics. I still don’t like the way social media companies mine information and use it for their benefit, but it is what it is.

     Besides being manipulated and influenced by data miners, there are serious security threats. The problem with information being out there, even in the databases of reputable companies that would protect that information, there are hackers that specialize in stealing that information and selling it on the black market. Also, fraudulent companies mine data to scam you. They will use your information to steal from you. We’ve all heard stories of bank accounts being wiped clean or credit cards being charged to the limit. Thankfully, banks have protection for you in the event of fraud, but it is still and extremely stressful and troublesome issue to resolve. However, sometimes even the big banks cannot be trusted.

     According to one study, “American Express has used data mining to discriminate its users. According to the mining report obtained by American Express, the customers who shopped in a certain shop tend to have poor debt payment history, and thus, the company reduced the credit rating for all those who shopped in that area. This kind of prediction and assumption is introducing discrimination beyond just skin color.”

https://eclature.com/negative-effects-of-data-mining

     Be careful; weigh the benefits and risks of sharing your information; use common sense. Do what you can to protect yourself from fraud. Don’t follow every digital rabbit trail that pops up on sites, even ones that you would normally trust.  Never share your financial or banking information with anyone that does not need to know it or cannot guarantee your protection in the event that they are hacked.

Here are some referral links if you have interest in Coinbase, Cointiply, KuCoin, or Presearch. Each company comes with their own win-win bonuses for participating in these referral programs. I have found them each to be trustworthy and profitable in their own way; however, be careful with some of the ads on cointiply.

https://www.coinbase.com/join/snuffe_p

http://cointiply.com/r/0j2x5

https://www.kucoin.com/ucenter/signup?rcode=rJEJW55

https://presearch.org/signup?rid=2332071

Be safe,

The Lynx

 

 

 

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The Lynx
The Lynx

A musician, artist, writer, hiker, gamer, avid reader, and NFT creator. I am a person always seeking for new ideas. My name "Lynx' goes back to a nickname in college. I have an online support group for those suffering with grief: www.lifelynx.net.


Crypto Lynx
Crypto Lynx

This blog will inform and entertain. From the perspective of a professional writer and educator with many hobbies, I take a common sense approach to sharing advice and information. I am not a professional trader; therefore, always buy, sell, and trade at your own risk. The information in this blog will be well-researched and factual to the best of my knowledge. Yet, what you do with this information is your decision. www.cryptolynx.co https://twitter.com/ArtLynx1

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