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Companies Aren’t Being Honest When They Say They Won’t Sell Your Data, Here’s Why

The prospect of a company trying to use your data or sell it in any way, shape or form probably fills you with dread because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up resulting in your privacy getting compromised. A number of companies add a statement in their privacy policies claiming that they will never end up selling your data which can make you feel safer to a certain extent.

However, it is important to note that this statement might not be all that honest with all things having been considered and taken into account. That does not mean that the statement is untrue. If you take it in a literal sense then major corporations such as Google, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook don’t directly sell any data in a manner that people would be all that uncomfortable with, but that does not mean that they don’t end up profiting from it in other ways.

A number of experts have referenced the fact that companies use this line as a way to distract customers from the fact that they definitely do stand to benefit from the use of their data. While companies can’t exactly buy data from these companies, they still manage to access this data in a wide range of other ways. A professor specializing in legal areas as well as computer related topics by the name of Ari Weldman elaborated on how companies intentionally use the word sell even though their business model doesn’t require selling data in the first place.

One example of this can be seen in how these companies help advertisers create targeted ads through the data that they acquire from their users and customers. What’s more is that if you were to click on an ad that is on a particular platform, the website that the ad links you to will likely end up collecting data about you that would potentially be of a sensitive or personal nature, thereby resulting in an invasion of your privacy.

Another thing to note is that advertising companies don’t technically need to acquire data directly from you. If they create an ad that was targeted to a specific group of people, the fact that you click on said ad would indicate that you might just belong to said group. This demographic can then be associated with your IP address and you might start seeing more ads that target this group. You can see how the sale of data is not actually necessary for these companies to make a profit, and this indicates just how disingenuous that statement actually is.

The definition of the term “sale” is also something that tech companies tend to play around with. Advertisers can use real time bidding techniques to essentially buy data without this purchase being considered an actual sale in the technical sense of the term. You should remember that tech companies only need to adhere to the legal definitions of various terminology, and this allows them to bend the rules a little bit and still be able to claim that they do not sell user data.

Google uses its ad infrastructure to make it so that whenever you visit a site, the owner of the site would be able to see all kinds of information that is associated with your IP address and device. They can then decide how much money they are willing to pay to be able to advertise to you in the future, something that definitely seems like a sale even though both tech companies and advertisers would claim that this is not in fact the case.

Your data comes part and parcel with this process. Advertisers can’t show you an ad on a site without accessing your data, but in technical terms they are not actually purchasing the data itself. It is important to be cognizant of the various ways in which companies can use legalese to make it seem like they are not actually violating your privacy. This can be useful in terms of safeguarding yourself from losing control over your personal information in a day and age where privacy violations are unfortunately becoming highly commonplace all in all.

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