We at VPN Surf hold the belief that personal data should stay private. Unfortunately, we live in a world where corporations and cybercriminals are attempting to collect as much personal data as possible, and they are not shy to pay a good buck for it. Most of the time, it is for commercial reasons.
However, there are cases where this has been done for personal reasons, such as identity theft. In the digital age, a phrase goes, "If you aren't paying for a product, then you are a product." The conclusion is that a lot of the services we utilize rely on selling our personal information to third parties for financial gain.
In the digital age, a phrase goes, "If you aren't paying for a product, then you are a product." The implication is that a lot of the services we use on a daily basis, including Facebook, Google, Twitter, Twitch, etc., profit from selling our personal information to marketers. There is a lot of truth in that statement, though there is arguably one important qualification: personal data is useful to subscription service providers as well as businesses that offer free services.
It's challenging to estimate the size of the data market. Several of the biggest internet service platforms invest billions of dollars every year to buy user data from outside sources. Online service providers value data transfers depending on a variety of factors, including demographics, personal identifying information, family status, financial information, and individual behaviors.
Age, gender, and location are only a few examples of basic information about an individual that is only worth $0.0005 per person (or $0.50 per thousand). A person's financial information (such as recent payment history or health information) is somewhat more valuable. The average monthly worth of an active user's data to Facebook in the case of Facebook is around $2.
So How Much Is Personal Information Worth?
This is quite a hard question to answer; there are too many variables in place. The biggest factor that contributes to users’ data price most often depends on who’s buying it and for which purpose. The second biggest thing affecting the cost of data is what kind of person it is about. A celebrity’s personal information is definitely more valuable than that of Joe living down the street from you.
The FTC and Equifax settlement is yet another example of how valuable user data is to businesses. In July 2019, Equifax reached a settlement for the 2017 data breach, which resulted in the exposure of 147 million people's personal data (names, birthdays, addresses, social security numbers, etc.). Equifax agreed to pay $525 million as compensation. According to this settlement sum, each person would be eligible for a reimbursement of at least $125.
Here are some examples of prices of stolen data that can be sold on the dark web:
- Passports: $1000 – $2000
- Medical Records: $1 - $1000
- Diplomas: $100 - $400
- Online payment services credentials: $20 - $200
- Credit and debit cards: $5 - $100
The data of an average American is worth between 20 and 40 cents. That seems like such an insignificant amount, so why did the multibillion-dollar corporation take this risk? Taking into account that Facebook has approximately 190 million American users, they can make anywhere between $38 and $76 million from selling the users’ data. Also let’s not forget that the social network has 2.2 billion users worldwide. We can only speculate how much money they make from selling everyone’s data.
What About Legal Data Collection?
Everyone heard of the Facebook Cambridge Analytica fiasco in 2018. Why did Facebook allow such a stunt to happen, knowing the extent of the public relations disaster it would bring them? How much is a user’s personal data worth to Facebook?
The kind and volume of personal data that a business or organization may process rely on the justification (the legal justification utilized) and the intended use. Many important guidelines that the corporation or organization must follow include:
("Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency") refers to the requirement that personal data be processed fairly by the individuals whose personal data are being used.
The data processing must also have a specific purpose, which must be disclosed to the individuals when collecting their personal data. A company/organization cannot merely gather personal data for unclear purposes; instead, it must only acquire and process the minimal amount necessary to achieve that aim.
Considering the reasons for which it is processed, the company/organization must make sure the personal data is accurate and up-to-date and must update it if not. The organization/company is not permitted to use the personal information for any additional purposes that are incompatible with the original purpose; The organization/company must ensure that personal data is only kept for as long as required to fulfill the reasons for which it was obtained.
Why Sell this Data?
The simple answer is targeted ads. Advertisers are paying astronomical amounts of money to have their ads shown to millions of people at a time. If the people see that see these ads are not interested in the products displayed, all this money goes to waste in the advertisers’ eyes.
In order to be more efficient with their advertisements, advertisers want to know as much information as possible about the people viewing the ads so they can tailor them specifically for the demographics most likely to buy the product. This is exactly why Facebook and Google and countless other companies sell your personal data.
We at VPN Surf keep no logs of our user’s browsing habits and retain only the information necessary to provide our services. This retained information is never shared with anyone.
Read more here:
- Avast Is Selling Your Data
- A VPN Will Help Your Personal Data To Remain Personal
- How to Keep Your Company's Data Safe?
- Protect your Data while Traveling
Do you value your privacy online?
Use VPN Surf and surf safely and securely in the open waters of the internet.