My Results: How Is Data Shared?
Communicate About Privacy
Request privacy from companies and services that have data about your offline activities, such as healthcare, banking, insurance, and utility providers. Specifically, opt out of sharing your information with third parties. Use these guides to help you navigate opt-out procedures:
- Video and Guides from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services: Health Information Privacy: Guidance Materials for Consumers
- Stop Data Mining Me: Opt-Out List
- How to opt out of Facebook data sharing
Learn About Online Privacy
If you can't bring yourself to read through the official Privacy Policies, use a cheat sheet like one of these:
- Ratings Based on Whether Apps Collect Only the Information You Expect: Privacy Grade: Grading the Privacy of Smartphone Apps
- Ratings of How Sites Protect Your Information from Government Requests: Who Has Your Back (2018 Edition)
Manage Your Profiles
If an app or site asks for your personal information, weigh the benefits before giving it.
- Ask yourself: Do they really need this information to provide the service? What permissions are they asking for and do they really need access to that information?
- Don't fill in non-required fields.
- You may be able to give false information in the required fields if it's not necessary to the service you're getting. However, you should check the provider's terms of service first to make sure they do not require that your personal information be correct. Don't give false information to banks, government agencies, and other highly regulated services, as it may be illegal.
- Watch these short videos to see how much information we give away without thinking.
Privacy Tips for Businesses
Keep up with new laws and regulations about protecting your customers' privacy. Professional associations and local or state business associations often have best practices that can help you comply with the laws for your industry and area, but make sure their recommendations are current before enacting them.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): What you need to know to stay compliant
- The State of Consumer Data Privacy Laws in the US (And Why It Matters)
Your employees also have privacy rights you should be aware of:
- Fact Sheet About Employee Rights to Privacy: Workplace Privacy and Employee Monitoring
When customers, clients, or donors entrust you with their personal or contact information, consider the benefits of keeping it private. While passing customer lists to business contacts and third parties may be legal in most industries, it is impolite, and may cause your customers to take their business elsewhere. On the other hand, having a reputation for respecting customers' privacy may provide a competitive advantage.
- If you want to share your customer’s personal or contact information with other businesses, use an opt-in model that lets customers know you care about their privacy preferences.
- Have strong contracts in place with companies that process your customer’s personal data on your behalf.
- Above all, make sure you keep your customers informed about what you are doing with their data:
Be aware that when you buy online ads to drive traffic to your site, or when you sell ad space on your website for other companies' products, you are adding to the advertising company's profile of your customers or members. If your business or organization is of a sensitive nature, you might consider using an advertising service that does not track the behavior of individual users.
Be selective about the software and communication platforms you use in your business or organization. If it doesn't state clearly in the terms of service or user agreement that they will not share your data or your customers' or donors' data with any other entities, contact the company and ask. If you can't get a straight answer, choose a different platform.
Resources to Learn More About the Topic
Data Mining and the Limits of De-Identification
- Comic Explaining Many Ways Data Mining Is Used: Terms of Service
- Here’s why you may never be truly anonymous in a big data world
Data Sharing and Data Brokers
- Explanations, Advice, and Resources About the Value of Your Information: Information About You on the Internet Will Be Used by Somebody in Their Interest
- Video About the Information You Share on a Daily Basis: A Day in Your Life
- In-Depth Explanation of Data Aggregation, Inference, and Consumer Profiling: Ethical Implications of Data Aggregation
Third-Party Ad Serving