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How your data helps drive marketing and affects your privacy.

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Ever wonder where our online data goes and who might be interested in it? As users of the internet, all of us are prospects of being customers to a number of brands and companies. Have you ever searched for a product on Google and got an ad for it in your email immediately? There are several online devices that go a long way in benefiting all the parties involved but can also drastically impact your online privacy!

Cookies and Data Tracking Tools Working On the Internet

Whenever you visit a website, you leave a record of it on your browser along with everything you click during that browsing session. To track this information many websites use a small piece of data known as a cookie.

How do Cookies Work?

Cookies can store specific information on the websites you visit, and are able to follow you and track whatever actives you are taking part in on different sites. If you don't have an account on a particular site, this information is typically saved in a cookie to your web browser.

For example, a news website might use cookies to see if you've previously visited its site and what articles you read on your last visit, so it can suggest more articles based on your previous choices.

Account Tracking

When you create an account with a site like Facebook or Google, you're also giving them permission to track and save information on your activity. Instead of saving this information in a cookie, it's stored by the company and associated with your account. So that means every like, comment, chat, photo and poke is documented and can be packaged for their internal use or to be sold for marketing purposes or advertising.

How Data Tracking Affects Online Privacy

Online privacy, refers to how much of your personal, financial and browsing information remains private when you’re online. Online privacy is important for numerous reasons. You don’t want to share details of your personal life with strangers, and it’s hard to be sure what personal information is gathered and by whom.

Data privacy is an element of online security that looks at the following issues:

  • Why the data is acquired.

  • How the data is collected or stored.

  • Whether the data is shared with a third party or not.

  • The regulatory restrictions.

Companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon have profited greatly by utilizing the user data to maximize either product or advertising sales. When it comes to internet privacy, there is personal and sensitive information.

  • Personal information: Identifiers, such as name, IP address, address, etc.

  • Sensitive information: Private data like medical records, but also information that you might not be ready to share publicly, such as your political views.

Why Companies Collect Data

It must be kept in mind that nothing is actually free in the world, and that applies to commonly used free apps available to be downloaded like Facebook, Instagram and Google. The free usage is the cost of the data and information collected by the companies for marketing analytics and strategy.

The main reason many companies collect data is to gather information about the users or the customers which helps them understand the day-to-day operations better and as a result, they can make informed business decisions and understand their customers.

From consumer behavior to predictive analytics, companies regularly capture, store, and analyze large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data on their consumer base every day. Some companies have built an entire business model around consumer data, whether they're companies selling personal information to a third party or creating targeted ads. Customer data is big business.

Capturing large amounts of data creates the problem of how to sort through and analyze all that data. Data analytics has become an even more powerful field for breaking down the sea of data into manageable tidbits of actionable insights. Some AI programs will flag anomalies or offer recommendations to decision-makers within an organization based on the contextualized data. Without programs like these, all the data captured in the world would be utterly useless.

Here are a few common examples of when a website might track your online activity.

Video sites like YouTube and Netflix collect information on the videos you watch, which helps them suggest more videos you might like.

Online stores like Amazon and eBay keep a record of the different items you view and purchase, which helps them suggest other products you may want to buy.

Search engines like Google keep a record of the things you search for. This can help them suggest more relevant searches, but it can also be used for advertising purposes. For example, if you search for a coffee maker on Google, you might see ads for coffee makers on other websites in the future.

How People Can Protect Their Data

By making a few simple changes to your devices and accounts, you can maintain security against outside parties’ unwanted attempts to access your data as well as protect your privacy from those you don’t consent to share your information with. In the past decade, data breaches and password leaks have struck many companies. There are many measures we can take to protect our valuable information.

  • Using Strong Passwords can be extremely beneficial to avoid hackers and data leakage. All the accounts should have different passwords, and it is better not to have the same password for a very long time. If your home router, smart light bulbs, or security cameras are still using “password” or “1234” as the password, change them.

  • Authentication of passwords is done by many apps when a new device logs into the account. After typing the password, the app sends a numeric code as a text message to your phone number or your email which authenticates that it's you who is logging in.

  • In order to avoid cookies, you can use the do not track option in the browsing settings however most browsers usually have it disabled. You can also use incognito mode on Google. However, private browsing mode won't protect against every kind of browser tracking.

How Cyder comes in

Ultimately, Cyder's goal is to empower users to take control of their data and begin to see it as their asset, not just some digit in a computer. With Cyder members can protect their data whenever they want and browse anonymously. Should the members chose to take part in the data monetization ecosystem and allow their data assets to be monetized Cyder will pay the member dividends or a percent of the data monetization, back to the member.

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