Guest Post: How Data Harvesting Invades Your Privacy and How to Prevent It

Guest posts on our blog are something that we had considered doing since inception, but as a new business, we were sceptical that anyone would want to provide content to us so soon.

Thank you so much to our friends at TechWarn Media LLC for providing this guest post. How Data Harvesting Invades Your Privacy and How to Prevent It.

This is what we hope to be the first of many going forwards from various subject matter experts across the technology ecosystem.

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We are living in a digital age with the world at our fingertips. Businesses, large and small, are quickly realising that in a digital world, data can be more important than money. Knowing the likes and dislikes, needs, and preferences of potential customers help businesses market to them more effectively. Companies use this information to create targeted ads and increase conversion rates.

From solicited mail to remarketing, there are many ways of collecting personal data legitimately. However, personal information can be collected and sold without your knowledge and consent. This illicit trade of personal information is referred to as data harvesting.

Risks to the Consumer and How to Protect Yourself

Data harvesting uses malicious bots to automatically extract large amounts of information from websites. Data harvesting companies collect and store information such as location, gender, age, etc., and use it to create profiles of potential customers. These profiles are then auctioned off online.

Data harvesting creates certain risks for the consumer. Harvested data can be stolen or misused. Vast amounts of detailed information are particularly appealing for hackers. These enormous collections of data often contain enough information about an individual for a hacker to steal their identity or execute scams. Here are some tips on how to protect your personal information from data harvesting online.

  • Use a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is one of the best tools when it comes to protecting personal information online. A VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection between your device and the server, meaning that no one can see or modify your internet traffic. Download a VPN to protect your data from being harvested.

  • Use Temporary Emails. Using a temporary email address for services you are trying out can help protect your data. You can switch to your regular email account once you have decided that you like the service.

  • Avoid Free Services. Nothing is free on the internet. Even when you are using a ‘free’ online service, you are paying for it in the form of usage data, which, as a form of payment, is even more potent than money.
  • Tighten Privacy Settings. Check the settings on your smartphone, social media, and apps and limit permissions. Does Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter really need to know your location? Delete applications you don’t need and adjust privacy settings on the rest.

  • Read Your T&Cs. Before you click, read the terms and conditions and only process if you indeed agree to the data usage policy. It may be a little inconvenience, but don’t submit to more information than you are willing to give.

Your personal information gives businesses insights into what you buy. Data harvesting companies collect personal information on a large scale and sell it to businesses, often without consent. This underhand practice creates the risk of data theft or misuse of personal data. We all leave a significant data footprint worth harvesting. You can protect yourself from data harvesting by following the tips mentioned above.

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So, there you have it – TechWarn’s tips around Data Privacy. Thank you once again to them for providing us with this great content.

To recap –

– Use a VPN to encrypt your connection to the internet.
– Use temporary emails for testing purposes.
– Avoid Free Services – as nothing is truly free.
– Check those permissions on your smartphone and other applications
– Terms & Conditions are written to be read.

Ultimately, using your common sense is the simplest way of remaining secure.

Would like to know more on a specific subject – let us know and we will get on it – we are always looking for content ideas.

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