people and/or companies that “sell people’s data”, what does that mean exactly? like what exactly are they selling, and who’s buying it and what do they do with it after purchase?

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people and/or companies that “sell people’s data”, what does that mean exactly? like what exactly are they selling, and who’s buying it and what do they do with it after purchase?

In: Technology
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Your data includes: products you’ve looked at or bought online. Websites you’ve visited. Where you live, work, eat. Physical stores you’ve visited. How much you make. Who you pay your mortgage to. Who you are related to and your friend groups. What type of car you drive. What kind of pizza you want, the route you take to work.

Companies that want to sell you stuff want this data. By knowing more about you they can craft messages more likely to induce you to buy their products.

Political campaigns want this data to know how to market their candidate to you. Employers want it to know how likely you are to be a good employee. Insurance companies want to know if you are engaged in risky behavior. .. and certain governments, like China, want to know if you are going to be a problem.

>and what do they do with it after purchase?

Think of a close friend of yours. Since you know them so well, you probably know what to say to them that has a high likelihood of them agreeing to go somewhere with you. You probably also know what would put them off to the idea. It’s like you have a avatar of that person in your head that you can run what you could say by. Maybe what you think how your friend would respond and how they actually respond doesn’t always match up, but the closer your ‘avatar’ of them is to the way they actually are, the more often you’ll be right.

That’s what big data companies do with our data. They create virtual ‘avatars’ which they use to predict what they need to show us to get us to behave a certain way. Maybe an ad they predicted would make you click it doesn’t work, but they just use that event to create an even more accurate avatar of you. The more data they can collect of you, the more likely it is that their avatars correctly predict how you’d react.