Afraid Data Brokers Are Selling Your Personal Information? This 1 Tool Prevents It From Happening

Afraid Data Brokers Are Selling Your Personal Information? This 1 Tool Prevents It From Happening
Surfshack is a cybersecurity company that released a new data privacy tool called Incogni. Incogni helps consumers in preventing data brokers from storing and selling their personal data. Photo : CARLOS COSTA /Getty Images

The Cybersecurity company Surfshack, released Incogni, which helps prevent data brokers from storing and selling a user's personal information.

Surfshark's Incogni Against Data Brokers

Data brokers now have access to data, including personal information, on hundreds of millions of people, with some of the industry's biggest names boasting up to 1,500 data points per person. As reported by TechRadar, in addition to contact information like a user's phone number and home location, the data they collect can include ethnicity, religion, marital status, hobbies, media consumption, purchase and search history, and even political affiliation.

Surfshark invented Incogni for data privacy. Incogni allows customers in recovering control over who has their data. Upon a customer's request, Incogni can identify and communicate with dozens of data brokers so that their information can be removed from these companies' databases.

Data Brokers on Collecting Information

The information they collect on a specific person can include not only contact credentials such as phone number and home address, but also ethnicity, religion, marital status, hobbies, media usage, purchase and search history, and even political affiliation, based on publicly available information and the company's correspondence with data brokers.

Furthermore, this market is growing, with a projected value of $345 billion by 2026. With the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, these companies are now required to provide or delete information about a person if a formal request is made.

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Nonetheless, due to the extensive response frameworks that corporations have created and honed, contacting each firm could take a large amount of time.

As per Irish Tech News, to demonstrate how complex this procedure may be, Surfshark's team of researchers contacted 36 data brokers on their own.

With each new data broker, it took a little over six days to acquire a final response, while it took more than 20 days with each established one. Since the 36 contacted data brokers account for only 1% of the whole market (4,000 firms), completing one person's data inquiry requests by hand would take 66 years.

Moreover, 63 percent of large data brokers requested personal information that was not required to finish the inquiry (aside from an ID copy), requesting a bank statement or even an e-signature, lengthening the process.

Data Privacy

In a news release, according to Security Brief, Surfshark CEO Vytautas Kaziukonis explained why the business opted to build Incogni.

Kaziukonis stated that data privacy is becoming an increasingly alarming issue, but many people are still unaware of the hidden market that data brokers operate in. As the sensitivity and scope of data they possess grow, so does the need to be able to opt-out of it.

However, according to the recent study conducted, the actual process of taking back data is an extremely tedious procedure that requires legal knowledge and a great deal of persistence. Incogni aims to help users opt-out of these practices more efficiently.

Incogni is now available for purchase in both Europe and the United States, where the GDPR and the CCPA mandate corporations to release or erase personal data if they receive a formal request.

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