Privacy Tips

“How do I Limit the Data I Share Online?”

May 3, 2023
3 min

Every time you sign up for a new account, give a new person your number, or surf the internet on a non-privacy centric browser, you’re sharing little pieces of yourself. These little bits of information can be aggregated by various data brokers and sold. 

From here, the data may be used to target you with unwanted advertising, help companies with market research, update your online “whitepages” entries, and even assess geographical medical risk in some cases.

There is no shortage of uses for your personally identifiable information (PII), and no shortage of funds certain companies will pay to gain access to it.

Sure, apps like Cloaked are a great start. However, how should you deal with data asks that may go beyond the scope of a privacy app? 

Understand the principle of “least privilege.”

According to industry standards, the principle of “least privilege” means only supplying the information necessary to reach a desired outcome. So, if a social media site doesn’t require you to verify your payment details for shipping or card validation, then you can set it up using a pseudonym and Cloaked email/phone number.

Share just enough information to gain access to the site without actually providing any of your PII. All of the social media access - none of the data breaches.

Make sure that the data is appropriate to the scenario.

On the other hand, if you need to have something shipped or to verify your zip code, then sharing this information may be unavoidable. Each data sharing scenario should be examined and the risk to your PII assessed before proceeding.

Some companies will inflate their data requirements with the purpose of improving their marketing or product development (or as a means of profiting off of data sales). When in doubt, don’t be afraid to check the company’s privacy policy, do a quick Google search on past data breaches and reputation, and to reach out to the company directly to inquire about the need for certain PII.

The bottom line is that this is your information and you have the right to control how it’s distributed.

Diversify your data to make it less valuable.

There are times when it will be impossible to completely shield your basic PII like your name or address. However, by creating different email addresses and phone numbers for each new input, you can pollute your data to the point that it is no longer valuable to data brokers.

Having a hundred email addresses and phone numbers associated with your PII can make it difficult for data brokers to prove that any one of these will yield good results for marketing or other ventures.

At this point, your information becomes useless.

Educate yourself on the ways data is collected, stored, and used.

The internet isn’t the mystery it used to be. We’re becoming increasingly aware of how our data is being collected, used, and sometimes exploited in the data for profit trade.

It’s important to continue to expand your education around the value and use of your PII, and what you can do to stay in control of it. We’ve included some additional resources below.

Stay connected with Cloaked!

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