Data Protection

Keeping your data private

As use of technology becomes more and more ingrained in our way of life, information collected about us becomes far more in-depth. Technology companies, at the heart, deal in both buying and selling of YOUR private data. Services and software that you may use everyday (e.g. Microsoft or Google) collect your data each time you use their services. While it may seem that keeping your data private is hopeless, you do have options available to you.

This blog contains a series of articles investigating many of the popular software products and services offered by these companies, providing guidance to ensure a more secure, private life.

The following articles provide an insight to Microsoft, Google and other social media platforms and how they collect data about you. Read these and follow the guidance if you are concerned about the data these companies are collecting on you.

Data Brokers

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” – Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president, Gartner Research.

While technology companies are a part of the problem, the real danger is posed by so called ‘Data Brokers‘ that mine and sell personal data without scrutiny. Data brokers are organisations specialising in the collection and selling of data. In many cases these data brokers ‘can have up to 1,500 pieces of information about a person’ (Acxiom 2014).  To begin, I’ll show you just how to prevent Acxiom from selling your data, thus taking your first steps in keeping your data secure.

Firstly, visit Acxiom.com and scroll to the bottom. Find and click the link saying ‘DO NOT SELL MY PERSONAL DATA’ (Figure 1). This will take you to a web page filled with information regarding the opt-out process. However, this particular link will only apply to US customers, you want the section entitled ‘7/ Non-US Opt Out‘, here you can select your countries link (Figure 2).

Ticking do not sell my personal data
Fig 1: Select ‘DO NOT SELL MY PERSONAL INFORMATION’
Selecting your nationality
Fig 2: Select your corresponding nationality

For demonstration purposes, this guide will use the UK link, however for the other nationalities the process will be very similar if not the same. Once the relevant link illustrated in Fig 1 has been selected, the ‘Consumer Rights Portal‘ page is displayed. From this page select the ‘Opt out of Acxiom marketing products‘ under the ‘Your next steps‘ section (Figure 3).

Fig 3: Select the first option

Selecting the option illustrated in Fig 3 displays the final step, the opt-out page.

Once loaded, begin by scrolling down and ticking ALL of the boxes to opt-out. However, don’t stop here. A further step is recommended. Enter every piece of information you can possibly think of that may relate to you including any phone numbers, names or addresses that you may have entered online at one point. Be sure to include all identifiable data you do not want Acxiom to sell as illustrated in figure 4.

Enter the data you would like to delete
Fig 4: Tick all boxes and enter all necessary information

Once complete, fill out the CAPTCHA requirement and select submit. This concludes the opt-out process. You have now successfully stopped Acxiom from selling your information to other marketing companies and any other companies which may wish to purchase it.

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