On Cyber ​​Monday, here’s how much data companies will charge you

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If you’re shocked to learn that the Internet isn’t a great place when it comes to your privacyWelcome to your first day online. companies track everything you sometimes do while browsing the web below Yours different keypresses and mouse clicks, and gobble up As much of your personal information as they can get their hands on. when you shop this Cyber ​​Monday, and all the time The entire 2022 holiday season, for that matter, know you’re not handing over your hard-earned dollars for retailers, You are also providing your data.

The problem with online shopping is that there are many points at which you can lose your data, There are the stores themselves, which collect as much as they can while you browse their sites. on top of that are third-party trackers that follow you from site to site, Profile your browsing Habits. are again Third-party services like Honey that help improve the shopping experience or save you moneyAt the cost of more of your privacy and personal information,

Trackers are reporting your activity everywhere you go online

after a visit to macy’s website, Safari Privacy Report tells me it stopped 39 trackers from profiling me: a litany of Creepy names like “tiqcdn.com” and “xg4ken.com”With familiar faces like Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter. six different google have trackers Trying to follow me, including “google-analytics.com,” “google.com,” “googleadservices.com,” “googlesyndication.com,” “googletagmanager.com,” and “googletagservices.com.” ,don’t be evilmy ass.)

what do these trackers want to find out about me, everything, your browsing action is invaluable for to retailers and advertisers alike. And why wouldn’t it? Here is an opportunity to see how you react to a retail position. Trackers can see that you clicked on one shirt over another, that you chose pink instead of tan, or that you moved nothing when it didn’t contain the item you wanted. sales.

That’s why profiling is such a big business. It is not enough to know how a random customer behaves at a retail site. if they can tie that information you30 year old New Yorker in finance who likes preppy apparel, they’d better be able to target you advertisement,

It happens throughout the year, from for christmas time mid july. But companies know you’re going to shop very For the time of Cyber ​​Monday and its surroundings. This is not only a great opportunity to sell you stuff, this is the moment to collect as much data as possible. When they do it they can do it to you.

Think about how much data you voluntarily keep provide companies when you shop. Depending on the store, you can hand over your name, shipping address, email address, phone number, age, and of course, payment information. that Is already A lot to share with a company, but most of it is necessary to facilitate transactions. what Not there requires that data be shared with multiple third-parties, which is exactly what Macy’s stores do, They also employ the use of the above tracker to collect the data they could not do otherwise,

Third-party services like Rakuten also steal your data

But you’re not just buying things from the store. Often, we use other services to improve the shopping experience. Take Rakuten, for example. You can use such services every time you shop, but it becomes especially relevant during holiday deals. While you can earn a few percentage points here and there throughout the year, Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday deals are Mad, Rakuten is advertising up to 20% cash back this year, which puts the pressure on consumers to take advantageretrospective savings.

no clear Grab to use Rakuten. You choose to buy something through their affiliate link, and the advertised savings are then assigned to your account. Once you’ve earned enough cash back, Rakuten will send it to you in the form of a check. but rakuten tracks So The more data you buy. according to this Privacy PolicyRakuten collects all personal information you provide to them (such as your name and email address), your IP address, your device and its operating system, payment information, and Internet activity (including URLs you visit).

But it also stores a lot more personal data than that, including your gender, age, household income, whether you’re considered purchasing something in the past, your interactions with their coupons (including views and clicks), geographic location, who you are, and perhaps most surprisingly, email inbox data, if you created your account by signing in with Google.

Worse, you’ve probably agreed to allow Rakuten to sell this data. If you want to stop it, you have to go for it Privacy settings For your account and opt-out.

I’m choosing Rakuten because, despite the apparent data breach, I still use their services (cash back deal) Is really well this year). But there are other services you can use this Cyber ​​Monday to track you, too. If you break up your payments like this afterpaythey collect same data Too. You can dive into the privacy policies for each retail website or third-party service you use, and you’re likely to find similar language about data collection. None of these companies want you to shop anonymously.

What can you do to maintain your privacy while shopping?

again, it everyone’s share Nature of Internet. Unless you take serious steps to stop it, when you oonline, you’re exposed, and you just can’t Prevent all your data from escaping when shopping online, But there are steps you can take to help keep Put companies out of your business as much as possible,

For starters, use a good out-of-the-box browser Privacy settings, Safari is A solid option for blocking trackers you may encounter while shopping as well as on other websites. iCloud Private Relay hides your IP address from websites so that they can’t steal that data, even if they ask for it in their Privacy Policy. if you don’t have a mac or you don’t like safari, there are many great optionsLike Firefox and Brave, Plus some options you’ve probably never heard of, If you really want to increase your privacy online, try a vpnWhich will hide identifying data like your location, IP address and browsing data from sites and trackers.

If you’re making purchases through the companies’ or services’ apps on your phone, there are also features to prevent tracking. On your iPhone, you can go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Tracking And make sure “Allow apps to request tracking” is OFF. That way, shopping apps won’t be able to track your activity on other apps and sites on your phone. On Android, you can find a similar feature Using the DuckDuckGo App,

To prevent third parties from accessing your email address, use the “Hide my email” service instead. These services give websites and businesses a unique “burner” email, which is then forwarded to your main inbox. That way, no one ever sees your real email, but you still get any and all important messages. Apple has this built-in iCloud+And DuckDuckGo also has its own version,

In general, try to limit the amount of data you provide to companies. Use encrypted payment options such as Apple Pay whenever offered, and don’t fill out any forms marked “optional”. It’s also not a bad idea to dive into the privacy settings of the site you have an account on. Be sure to opt out of selling your data when it’s available, and plug any other weird privacy leaks that may pop up. You would be surprised how lax some of these services are with your data.

It takes a lot of effort to stay private online. It’s very easy to roll with the default options, and allows companies and trackers access to all your data as soon as you buy your gift. But with a little time and effort, you can slow the spread of personal information online, and do what the holidays are really about: spending every last penny you have.

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