KEEPING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION PERSONAL: TROUBLE FOR THE MODERN CONSUMER

The online market is continuously growing and expanding, with many benefits to the consumer. Online purchasing and web browsing make consumers’ lives much easier. But the ease of online activities comes with a cost. Companies are collecting, storing, and using consumers’ personal information more expansively than ever before— and eroding privacy in the process. Often consumers share their personal information with retailers or other companies by their choice (“approved companies”), but are unaware that the information is thereafter being given or sold to third parties. Approved companies pass information on to what are known as data brokers—companies that are in the business of collecting, storing, and selling consumer information. In many instances, these data brokers gather consumers’ information without their knowledge. They can also track everything a consumer does on the Internet: where she shops, what she buys, how she is feeling, and essentially anything she browses on the web.

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