- Key issues
ARE YOU BEING TARGETED?
The answer is yes, so do something about it and protect yourself.
By James Walker
Wed 26 January 2022
Have you ever wondered why you see so many ads when you’re online? In large part, it's because you're being targeted. Your data is being gathered without your knowledge and then sold to companies who go on to target you. Finding out who has your data is painstaking and can be hard, but we believe it should be easy and straightforward!
Do you know how many companies have your data without your consent? How many are you happy with? Our view is none - no company should have your data without your consent.
Give it a go on the Rightly website and see how many times your data is uploaded into Facebook. Whatever the number, that is the number of times your data has been sold by a marketing service provider to other companies. It explains why ads that appear on your Facebook page relate to something else you explored on another website, or even if you happened to click on a web page.
I was searching to find what data the tech giants had on me, so I gathered my data from Amazon, Google and Facebook. All provided me with some data, not as much as we are entitled to under legislation, but they provided the information they are happy to show you and enough to keep the Information Commissioner Office off their back.
When looking through the data from Facebook I was shocked to discover that over 1,500 companies had uploaded my email address into Facebook so that they could target me. These are companies that have my email address. That’s bad enough, but even more concerning is that if 1,500 companies have my email address, what other information do they have on me?
Since then, the highest number for one person we have found has been over 5,000 uploads to Facebook! That means that at least 5,000 companies have bought one person’s data from a marketing service provider. Shocking!
Marketing Service Providers, also known as ‘Data Brokers’, are selling your data and thereby profiting from something that is actually yours. They sell it to brands to optimise their marketing efforts and to target you. Our calculations show that these firms are making £300,000 a second from selling data like yours. They gather information on us all from as many sources as possible. Their aim is to help brands and organisations use any information they can find on you to target you.
It can be shocking the amount of information that companies have on you. It’s not just email addresses and cookies that these firms are using. They’re also collecting biometric data, stuff that’s even more personal. For example, I found a data broker that had my propensity to get cancer. Rightly research has also shown women's health sites gather information on menstrual cycles so they can target marketing. With the ‘Metaverse’ unfolding the use of biometrics is likely to increase enormously.
How many companies have your data?
Find out who has your data and quickly make a deletion request using our new Rightly Protect tool.
To learn more about how to stay safe online or simply read about the latest in data, check out our blog.