Data Brokers: What They Are and How to Safeguard Your Privacy

As more of our personal data is collected online, privacy concerns have increased. With a few clicks, we share intimate details about ourselves. However, most people are unaware of how widely their data spreads. Behind the scenes is an entire industry of data brokers that profits off of our digital footprints. Data brokers are businesses or individuals who collect and sell people’s personal information, including phone details and browsing behavior. In this post, we will look at how data brokers operate and some critical steps we can take to protect our personal information better.

Data Collection

Data brokers obtain data from many public and commercial sources. They can easily collect information through websites and applications without your knowledge by paying app developers to include SDKs (software development kits) inside their apps. 

Various permissions granted to apps, like access to contacts or location, can then be recorded by the data broker’s SDKs. They can also directly pay app owners to get the information without having to install the software kits. 

Another way of gathering information is through public records, such as voter registration, birth certificates, marriage licenses, census data, and divorce records. The Internet is also a rich source of information. Data brokers can collect personal details from things like the posts someone has made or interacted with on social platforms, quizzes they’ve completed online, contests they’ve entered virtually, or websites they’ve browsed.

Data Usage

Some main ways customer data is used include targeting online ads based on purchase history to make ads more relevant. Data brokers can tell advertisers what brands a person has bought and when they may need more, allowing timed ads. 

Customer data is also used for fraud detection, such as checking loan applications against background information from data brokers. This helps lenders validate information such as income and debts listed. 

Loan and insurance companies buy data to see a person’s debts, loans, payments, income, job history, and assets. People search sites also rely on information from data brokers to display names, addresses, ages, and other details when people search for someone. 

Privacy Protection

There are many ways of protecting your privacy online. 

1.Data Removal Services

Many reliable services can help in removing your information from data broker websites.  They scan the web for your information on sites like data brokers and search engines and then submit requests to have the data removed.

Make sure you choose the right service provider and go through user comments. Reliable companies like DeleteMe are backed by real testimonies; you can check DeleteMe reviews here.

2.Data Sharing and Data Privacy Tools 

You should also limit what you share online. Only share the minimum amount of information necessary, and avoid sharing sensitive information like address and phone number. You can also take advantage of tools like VPNs and secure browsers. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your connection, preventing internet tracking, which brokers rely on. Secure browsers block trackers and fingerprints, so your activity isn’t linked to you.

3.Digital Footprint and Fine Print

Consider deleting unused apps and online apps. Be conscious of privacy settings on devices, apps, and social media profiles, and ensure they are adjusted to maximum privacy. Be wary of agreeing to privacy policies or terms of service without thoroughly reading them, especially the fine print. 


While data brokers operate largely unseen, their impact on our digital lives is immense. Navigating today’s digital landscape requires vigilance. By staying informed and taking some precautions, we can navigate the digital landscape with greater confidence and control.


The post Data Brokers: What They Are and How to Safeguard Your Privacy first appeared on IT Security Guru.

The post Data Brokers: What They Are and How to Safeguard Your Privacy appeared first on IT Security Guru.

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Author: Daniel Tannenbaum