Is Your Data Safe on the Internet?

November 19, 2018 12:07 pm

Threat Level: 3

Have you ever logged onto social media after searching for something specific on the web, and see an ad for the exact thing that you were just looking for?  If so, you are not alone. This is something that has become more and more common, and we now know why this is happening.


Although ads may not seem like that big of a deal, it’s the data that is collected to target specific people that raises a concern.  If you have never heard of Quantcast, don’t worry, not many people have. Quantcast is an advertising company based in San Francisco that collects real-time insights on audience characteristics across the internet.  Aside from tracking your visits to websites, Quantcast also categorizes people by predicting their gender, age, education level, income, and presence of children in a household.


Quantcast acts as a “third party” that has trackers on many websites and apps, so they can monitor people’s online behavior.  Even though they claim to have received your consent, you may have given it to them without even realizing it. Many of these consent forms are designed to make you click “I ACCEPT,” and by clicking them, it means you are agreeing to allow hundreds of companies to use your data in many different ways.


Aside from obtaining your information this way, Quantcast also relies heavily on data brokers, credit referencing agencies, and credit card companies to get information from you.  The act of collecting, analyzing, trading, and selling data on people has been going on for decades, however it has recently become even more invasive to your privacy. Although it is difficult to escape and avoid this from happening to you, the hope is that data protection authorities can investigate these companies to help protect individuals from the mass exploitation of their data.


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