These days, data collection is big business. Every time you visit a new website, subscribe to a new service or even change a preference on your device, that decision is logged and collated to create a comprehensive picture of who you are, what you like and the products and services you’re most likely to want, need or qualify for.

Indeed, it’s for this reason that data is often referred to as the digital equivalent of gold or oil – though it has the potential to be more lucrative than either. That’s because as well as the intrinsic value of data as a saleable commodity, it also has the potential to generate much more revenue through the business insights it can inform. Confused? Fear not. In this article, we’ll explain the basics of data collection, who’s collecting it, why and whether or not you should be worried.

Who’s Collecting My Data?

In the age of interconnected technology, every piece of hardware and software you own is likely collecting your data on a daily basis. This includes everything from the smart apps in your home that control temperature, lighting, and television preferences to the purchases you make. Furthermore, it is also about the websites you frequently visit and even the specifications and settings of your device.

Some of the most common collectors of data include internet service providers (ISPs), browsers, website operators and app developers. However, due to the high earning potential that data collection brings, a whole business infrastructure has sprung up to cater to it, with data brokers assimilating any and all data they can get their hands on, then packaging it up and selling it on the highest bidder.


purposes of data collection

The main purposes of data collection are twofold: using it to inform marketing strategies, product design, and policy decisions, or else selling it to someone else who is likely to do the same. Every time you see an advert for something you just spoke about or searched for, every time you receive a message from a company with whom you have never previously had contact and every time a telemarketer calls you unsolicited, data plays a large role in making that happen.

These uses of data collection can be convenient at best and annoying at worst – but at least they’re all legal, providing you have consented to the policy beforehand and the collectors are transparent about their actions. However, there’s also a murky subculture of cyber criminals who purchase or pilfer data in order to bully, scam, impersonate or steal from their victims. It’s primarily for this reason that over 90% of Americans today worry they have lost control of their own data.

Related: The Nexus Of Test Data Management And Test Automation

How To Prevent Data Collection

The most effective way to keep your data from being collected by others is to avoid the internet altogether. It isn’t feasible for most people and isn’t a cast-iron guarantee of preventing collection in any case. Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to remove your personal information from the Internet, without spending a dime. You can start by opting out of data collection agreements and marketing associations. Further, optimizing your smart devices’ settings and restricting permissions is something you can also do. 

While it’s true that these steps require a significant investment of time and effort, given the multitude of entities holding and trading your data, they are worthwhile. For a more convenient solution, it might make more sense to contract the services of professional third-party companies. They mostly specialize in offering targeted data removal services.

Data collection is ubiquitous in the modern age – and although not all of the purposes it serves are negative, many are maddening, and others downright malicious. As such, it pays to spend time or money in taking back control of your own information as best you can.

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Shahnawaz Alam

Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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