Senate Report Reveals Data Brokers Are Shady — Surprised?

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Monitors_AustinWattsIllustrated by Austin Watts.
It’s pretty jarring that social-media sites and our email providers slyly market to us based on our Likes and keywords. But, as the issue of online privacy becomes a bigger concern, we’re learning that some data brokering companies are not just pulling info from our public profiles, but actually using tools to track information we enter online — and have ways to follow us even if we use a different name.

According to Gawker, a recent Senate meeting revealed the findings of an investigation into some of today’s biggest data companies. And, you're not going to like what they discovered. These brokers are specifically are targeting people with dementia, HIV/AIDS, and even selling rape-victim lists to marketers. Groups like Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon partnered with Facebook to enlist strategies for extracting info by pairing your Facebook Likes with incredibly personal information they’ve sourced. And, what’s more, the categories people are placed in are a bit revolting — “rural and barely making it” or “small town, shallow pockets.”

The Senate stated these companies operate “under a veil of secrecy” with limited (or sometimes no) information about them available. Scary stuff. What’s your input on the situation and would you like to see government stepping in soon? Inquiring minds want to know.