60 Minutes- The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information

I’ve focused the snippets below on paragraphs that focus on specific companies:

The largest data broker is Acxiom, a marketing giant that brags it has, on average, 1,500 pieces of information on more than 200 million Americans.It’s much harder for Americans to get information on Acxiom. The company declined our request for an interview and is fairly vague about the methods it uses to collect information and who its customers are.

We were able to go online and find all sorts of companies peddling sensitive personalized information. A Connecticut data broker called “Statlistics” advertises lists of gay and lesbian adults and “Response Solutions” — people suffering from bipolar disorder.

 

Paramount Lists” operates out of this building in Erie, Pa., and offers lists of people with alcohol, sexual and gambling addictions and people desperate to get out of debt.

 

A Chicago company, “Exact Data,” is brokering the names of people who had a sexually transmitted disease, as well as lists of people who have purchased adult material and sex toys.

That data becomes much more valuable when it’s married up to the much more personal information that’s being volunteered on the Internet. “Take 5 Solutions,” a data broker in Boca Raton, Fla., runs 17 websites like “GoodParentingToday.com” and “T5 HealthyLiving.Com,” where people can share stories about their families and health. What web visitors don’t realize is that “Take 5’s” real business is collecting and selling the information.

 

via The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information – CBS News.

Data Brokers Come Under Greater Scrutiny

The latest on this ongoing story of lawmaker’s investigation of data brokers.  The blurb below names some brokers and products they offer.

Data Brokers Come Under Greater Scrutiny – WSJ.com.

Epsilon Data Management, Experian and LexisNexis said they would continue to cooperate with the Senate committee. Acxiom declined to comment. Medbase200 didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Ethnic Technologies LLC provides lists with ethnic and religious groupings, including Americans broken out by race who don’t use mainstream financial services, according to its website. The site said its customers include banks, home-mortgage lenders and credit-card companies. The company didn’t return calls seeking comment.

Exact Data ConsumerBase LLC, a provider of direct-marketing services, on its website has consumer lists such as “Americans with Student Loan Debt” and “Bankrupt Consumers in Dallas.” The company didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Startup Datacoup Will Pay You $8 a Month If Your Feed It Data from Facebook, Twitter, and Your Credit Card

My pragmatic POV on this: your data is not worth that much.

 A startup called Datacoup is far from the only tech company hoping to get rich by selling insights mined from your personal data. But it may be the only one offering to give you money for that information.

via Startup Datacoup Will Pay You $8 a Month If Your Feed It Data from Facebook, Twitter, and Your Credit Card | MIT Technology Review.

Behind the scenes mobile data collection

Collection of data while apps aren’t active is going to be one of the big things in 2014.  This includes Foursquare location tracking (story below), Shazam listening, Runkeeper with fitbit-like tracking functionality.

Another related story will be the use of mobile data to solve the cold start problem with apps.  Before, when you install an app that is dependent on location history, you’d have to wait until it collects data before you could do anything useful with it.  Now, on iOS, the app has access to historical data so you’ll see benefits immediately post-installation.

Foursquare briefed ad executives recently on a new initiative to track the location of users’ phones, without requiring them to check in, according to Digiday. The app is able to do this by taking advantage of the “Background App Refresh” feature on iOS7 devices. On Android devices, Foursquare is pinging smartphones “every few minutes” to determine a user’s location. So, Foursquare no longer needs users to publicly check in to know where they are.

via Foursquare Surpasses 45 Million Registered Users, And Begins Collecting Data In New Ways 2 – Business Insider.

Facebook Considers Vast Increase in Data Collection

Doubling down on user data:

The social network may start collecting data on minute user interactions with its content, such as how long a user’s cursor hovers over a certain part of its website, or whether a user’s newsfeed is visible at a given moment on the screen of his or her mobile phone, Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said Tuesday during an interview.

via Facebook Considers Vast Increase in Data Collection – The CIO Report – WSJ.

More On Microsoft’s Cookie Replacement

Microsoft’s cookie replacement would essentially be a device identifier, meaning consumers could give permission for its advertising use when opting in to a device’s regular user agreement or terms of service. Microsoft would then become directly responsible for users’ data and — assuming it doesn’t share it with third parties — confine privacy concerns to the Redmond, Wash.-based company rather than countless companies that currently collect data on people’s browsing behaviors.

via Microsoft Cookie Replacement to Span Desktop, Mobile, Xbox | Digital – Advertising Age.

Swirl Hopes Consumers Okay Giving Up Privacy For DiscountsSpikes Retail Sales With Mobile Discounts, Gets $8 Million From Hearst – Forbes

He is not worried that the general public will see the service as spying on consumers. English explained, “Consumers opt in when they download the Swirl app or the store’s mobile app. And their phone is reacting to a beacon in the store rather than being tracked. They are happy to opt in because it gives them an opportunity to get discounts.”

via Swirl Spikes Retail Sales With Mobile Discounts, Gets $8 Million From Hearst – Forbes.