How Your Personal Information Is Used To Build Billion-dollar Companies

Before the Data Protection Authorities come to your rescue, before data controllers breach your constitutional right, and before Data Protection Authorities subject them to any jurisdiction, you have to protect yourself first.

Today, a walk into a building, institution, or event might require you to leave personal information on a piece of paper or a book depending on the mode of data collection. In some instances, purchasing goods and services also ‘need’ you to leave your personal information with unknown parties. Do you ever stop to ask yourself why your data is that important in the exchange for services or goods? 

This is because, in this digital era, data is the raw material needed to advance companies economically and socially. Institutions, organizations, and businesses today need data to sell products and services. 

Direct Marketing; If you happen to pay for services or goods via mobile money, you later receive a barrage of messages from the supplier giving you offers on products, pointing you to the nearby store or branch as well as marketing new arrivals in their stores.

Data processing; This is the point where the data controller goes further into ‘profiling the subject’. The franchise through the process can know whether or not you have children, depending on your purchasing behavior, they will also be able to tell if you are married or not, and this way they can now advise on what products your children need and what merchandise your household needs, e.t.c

Companies, therefore, get to grow their sales through; better customer analysis, personalizing products and services, offering ‘free’ services, etc. There is nothing wrong with this kind of commercialization of data. The problem comes in when these data controllers bug data subjects with information and unwanted messages, save for unwelcome calls. 

It does not help that, social media companies also expose the user to third parties who use your data for the same. For companies such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, and such, the moment you tick the box right before signing up, you sort of open yourself up to intrusion because, in reality, you have given consent. Mostly, users are not in a position to read the entire list of terms and conditions, let alone agree to them. Unfortunately, that is the catch, because you desperately need the application or the service at hand.

Data Subject Rights 

For example, it is your right as a data subject to enquire what your data will be used for at the point of collection. It is your constitutional right according to most Data Protection Act(s) to know third parties that might be exposed to your personal information and in what circumstances.

You also have the right to anonymity when it comes to personal information. Also, consent to personal data should be given under written law and not any other way. Therefore, the use of personal information without consent is subject to a jurisdiction that could either lead to a fine or imprisonment. The data subject also has the right to opt-out of an agreement as provided by the law.

Privacy to personal information is your constitutional right and it is your property by right as well. So, you must guard your data jealousy against predators looking to misuse your data.

You might not entirely be able to put a halt to all the intrusion from companies and service providers, but you can raise questions as to why someone selling you a gas cylinder might need your phone number, ID number, residential area, and such personal data. Also, you can resist filling in peculiar forms that have no connection to the service or goods you are purchasing.

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