Most businesses want to generate as much profit as possible. That’s always been true. Data collection can be very profitable – sometimes even more so than selling products and services. Data collection for the purpose of marketing more products and services to customers as well as selling customer data to third parties is sometimes referred to as “Surveillance Capitalism”. Many businesses collect personal data on customers even when customers aren’t aware of it or have freely consented to it. The examples are countless and include utility companies that install hazardous electric, gas, and water “Smart” Meters (see 1, 2, 3) on homes throughout communities worldwide.
It’s overwhelming to think about how much data has been collected on us – even children. The good news is that there are ways to reduce some of this.