How often do you really read through privacy policies? Maybe you click on “accept” just to get to the next screen, or you have a difficult time even finding it on a site. Unfortunately, blindly accepting privacy policies can be a major contributor to data collection and sales.
In short, a company could get away with openly selling your data for profit four out of five times. And that’s a pretty serious problem. In this case, knowledge is definitely power, and you should spend an extra five minutes skimming before agreeing to any policy.
Keep reading to learn what to look for…
The number one rule of selling your data for profit is that we don’t talk about selling your data for profit.
When this happens, make sure you carefully read the entire policy to protect yourself against shady data practices.
Some companies hide unethical data practices behind walls of legalese, making information difficult to translate or access for those of us without law degrees. Using language to mask unsafe or revenue driven data collection, storage, and sharing practices is a common occurrence, and something that you should consider a glaring red flag.
Tread carefully and take your time to understand your rights in these situations.
Some companies contract with third parties to test their security, take payments, handle certain company functions, and to support their workflows. While this isn’t a red flag in itself, it is important that you pay close attention to the language used to describe relationships with these third parties.
In addition to the obvious terms, it can help to get creative. Instead of saying, “we use your data to spam you with non stop targeted ads,” a company may say, “we use your data to personalize or customize your online experience.”
No matter how it’s worded, this means that they are likely using tracking pixels or tracking snippets to gather data on your personal online activity. Yeah, ads may be more targeted, but without gaining consumer consent, this is still a violation of your privacy.
Don’t be afraid to contact the company and ask for clarification when necessary.
You may not know this, but you have the absolute right to request that a company destroy or not use your data in certain ways. It’s your data, and you shouldn’t have to fight to have control over how it’s stored and used.
Do not sign off on terms and conditions without getting details on this information. Period.