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The Hidden Dangers of Data Brokers: Protecting Your Personal Information

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In today’s digital age, personal information has become an incredibly valuable commodity. Data brokers, companies that collect, analyze, and sell personal information, have become a thriving industry. These companies collect vast amounts of data on individuals from various sources, such as social media platforms, public records, and online purchases. However, the dangers of having your personal information with data brokers are immense, and it is essential to understand them to protect yourself.

Data Brokers

The first danger of personal information being with data brokers is the risk of identity theft. Cybercriminals can use your personal information to open fraudulent accounts or obtain credit in your name. With access to your personal information, data brokers can provide these criminals with the necessary information, making identity theft much easier for them.

Another danger of having your personal information with data brokers is the potential for targeted advertising. Data brokers collect information about your browsing and purchasing habits, and then sell this information to advertisers. This can result in a bombardment of targeted ads that can be both annoying and intrusive. Furthermore, this can lead to the manipulation of your purchasing decisions, as advertisers can use your personal information to tailor their ads specifically to you.

Data brokers can also sell your personal information to other third-party companies. This means that your personal information can end up in the hands of companies you have no relationship with, and who may use it for purposes that you do not approve of. This can include everything from spam emails to unwanted telemarketing calls, and even more serious privacy violations.

Perhaps the most concerning danger of having your personal information with data brokers is the potential for it to be used against you by law enforcement or other government agencies. With access to your personal information, these agencies can create a profile of you that can be used to monitor your activities or investigate you. Even if you have done nothing wrong, having your personal information with data brokers can put you at risk of being wrongly targeted.

There is, however, a shred of good news: due to data privacy laws, they are legally obligated to remove, or take down, your personal data from their databases upon a formal request. But a data broker is in the business of selling your data, so they deliberately make it difficult to navigate the data removal request process. There are hundreds of brokers out there, and they each have a different data takedown request process, both deliberately cumbersome and time consuming. On average, it takes 47 minutes of work to remove your data from these sites, including verifying the removal and re-submitting requests if not initially removed. And to make things a bit more cumbersome, the data that you request to be removed may later re-appear on the very same data broker site, as the brokers can remain compliant with data privacy laws if they re-obtain and re-publish your data. This last fact simply means you’ll need a powerful identity protection solution that can not only manage takedowns on your behalf, but also continuously monitor for your personal information re-surfacing on data broker sites.

Constella is proud to announce the upcoming launch of our data broker privacy solution. Available through both the Constella Unified Monitoring API and the Dome platform, Constella’s data broker privacy solution will monitor hundreds of data broker sites for the presence of your personal information, and upon your request, carry out the takedown process on your behalf, not only protecting your privacy, but saving your countless hours of chasing down data removal requests, and informing you as soon as your information re-surfaces.

Contact us today to learn how you can integrate Constella’s API into your product or license the Dome platform to protect your customers and your own organization.