The problem of data merchants

Not so long ago, the New York Times highlighted the data collection that Americans are undergoing without their explicit and informed consent.

This obviously undermines the famous principles of privacy and data ownership. Some companies have made it a market and have specialized in it. They are then called "data brokers." The legitimacy of actions related to the commercialization of user data has been highlighted.

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Let us try to shed some light on the status of these structures that call themselves that. Data brokers call data brokers in French "are most often brokerage entities that collect information about millions of individuals, most often opaquely. This allows them to generate very precise inferences, from the exploitation of public records and private sources. Including census and change of address records, motor vehicle driving records, web browsing his or her history, information provided by users themselves during their digital wanderings on merchant sites or social platforms. But also, based on the data recorded in court reports, voter registration on the electoral lists, history of consumer purchases via their credit cards or customer loyalties, lists of people most sought after by the authorities, registers of bank transactions, information from health authorities and health agencies… This list is obviously not exhaustive… Explains Franck Decloquement, an expert in economic and strategic intelligence and a founding member of the K2 Circle.

The personal data that will then be collected will be compiled to be able to define fairly detailed profiles.

The registers concerned are usually a cluster of personal data that will be classified into a number of segments, including jobs, age, gender, marital status, size, religious or political affiliation, profession, household but especially in consumption habit etc. then these data brokers will then make this information available they will have dealt with in profiles to different private and private organisations for commercial, political or strategic purposes.

The real problem with this kind of practice is legality. Indeed, we must not be fooled, companies that invest in this kind of activity do not always respect the law. But how is it that the authorities don't worry them? In a sense we have to admit that individuals like you and us don't really know what kind of data a broker can have on us. As a result, it will be difficult to take action against them. In addition, there are about 4000 companies specializing in this type of activity worldwide. But the latter manage to get under the radar and as their usefulness is proven for the most part with regard to public institutions, then the authorities often turn a blind eye. However, in the United States, there have been lawsuits against data brokers, in particular, since the Equifax hacking case.

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