Guilty. Because I work online, I see targeted ads all day long. How my behavior is being tracked and recorded and shared, and used by advertisers in particular, creeps me out. Yet, I’ve done nothing about it.
Like most Internet users – among those who are aware of data collection to begin with – I’ve accepted access to my data as the cost of using services. And I’ve avoided investigating how much information I turn over blindly out of fear that the truth might frighten me off the Internet entirely and cost me my livelihood.
Well, today I learned from Marcos Menendez that an average user can have around 1,700 invisible threats per day tracking his or her online history. Yikes. Even worse, turns out that data can be used against you to charge you more for things, based on information such as your location and the device you’re using.
This has to stop.
I’m ready to wake up and take ownership of my data. How ‘bout you?
Marcos is the founder of TheGoodData, a Chrome extension that intends to give Internet users rightful ownership and control of their data. First, TheGoodData blocks invisible trackers, lets you see who’s paying attention to your browsing, and ensures that they have your consent before collecting data.
“This is not just an issue about privacy, but about owning your personal data,” says Marcos. “Fundamentally, nobody should have access to your data without consent or be able to make money from this in exchange of nothing for you.”
Normally data is scooped up and sold by data brokers without users seeing any money for their personal information. TheGoodData puts an end to this insanity (what many are beginning to call outright theft). If you are willing to share your data, TheGoodData sells your data – after making it anonymous – on your behalf.
Here, TheGoodData functions like a co-op. Half of the money made goes into sustaining the service while the other half is disbursed through the micro-lending community Zidisha. Everyone is invited to take part ownership in TheGoodData and to play an active role in decision making.
So, you can either continue to let stealth players collect your data and profit from your activity or you can choose to decide who gets access to your data – and, if you’re willing, see that it’s traded for the greater social good…
TheGoodData prizes transparency. Not only does it show you who is attempting to collect your data, but you can monitor the progress of projects supported by the company. You always know who is involved and where the money is going.
Do you want control over your data? Ready to go beyond grumbling about privacy concerns and see to it that no one uses your data without permission? Prefer that your data is sold to create positive social change rather than be used to squeeze extra money from your wallet? Then download TheGoodData from the Chromes store here, or visit thegooddata.org to learn more about how the cooperative works.