Why your personal data is at risk, and why you should care
In the information age your data is among your most valuable possessions–but too many of us treat it with a lack of care. And there are plenty of interested parties out there who would love to take advantage.
To data brokers, your personal information is a potential goldmine. They buy your data, often without your informed consent, from the websites and services you use and from public records. They then analyze the data, and sell it on to the highest bidder. You would be frightened to see the amount of your personal information that is contained in the ‘shadow profiles’ collated by data brokers, and offered for the use of businesses, banks, marketers and even the government.
Almost anything can be monetized: your date of birth and home address, your contact details, your private health information, even your social security number will be scraped, bought and sold on using whichever method proves most convenient. And needless to say, it’s bad news for you if that data falls into the wrong hands.
The risks of unsecured personal data range from the annoying and embarrassing to the disastrous. You may receive large volumes of scam and robo calls, or excessive political messaging; marketers may target you with ‘dark pattern’ advertising; insurers may seek to increase your rates based on leaked health information, while banks may deny you credit cards; criminals and identity thieves may attempt to take out loans in your name. It’s a minefield, and the more personal data you’ve got out there, the greater the risk you face.
In theory, there are laws in place to help you protect your data. Opting out is possible–but the data brokers deliberately make this as difficult and inconvenient as possible. It would take the average person 304 hours to manually complete the data removal requests necessary to secure their privacy. What you need is expert help.
How to thwart the brokers and keep your data safe
Incogni is a personal data removal service that exists to help with precisely these kinds of problem. Instead of having to contact the brokers yourself, and then laboriously fill in the necessary removal requests, you can simply sign up with Incogni’s service; the company will handle all of the hassle for you. Authorize Incogni to act in your name, and the firm will contact and follow up with data brokers all over the world and ensure your personal information is scrubbed from the web.
The service is not limited to any one kind of broker or type of data, as many others are. Financial, employment, insurance, people search and personal data are all covered within the same plan, which starts at a manageable $6.49 per month with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can cancel any time, too, so there’s no long-term commitment. Better still, Macworld readers can get an exclusive 55% discount on Incogni’s annual plans. Simply use the code MACWORLD, and regain control of your data today.