Investigative journalist Julia Angwin, author of the new book Dragnet Nation, speaks to Bill in this clip about the ways in which the government and the private sector are compiling a personal profile of you. Did you know, for instance, that your voting records are being sold to commercial data brokers?
Through her research, Angwin discovered that over 200 data brokers had information on her, in one of the “least transparent” industries in America. Of those brokers, about a dozen would let her view her personal information (and when she did, she found some major inaccuracies, such as the names of previous employers) and less than half allowed her to opt out. Some sites even required her to submit her driver’s license number, social security information or pay a fee to complete the opt out process.
“All kinds of companies are collecting my data. In the data broker business, there are people who sell my name and address and actual voting records and all that. Those people, there are the big ones who compile it all on the backend, like Acxiom and InfoGroup; then there are the ones you look for online with whoever’s Googled your stuff. You might see them show up, they’re selling your data — they are Spokeo, Intelius and all of those lookup sites. And they do a very big business in selling your data. And unfortunately, your data sells pretty cheap.”