Conversation With A Data Broker

It’s a billion dollar a year business several times over. I’m talking about selling our personal information to the highest bidder with little legal or ethical accountability. CBS News’ Steve Kroft talks with Facebook director of public policy? Tim Sparapani on this controversial trade.

Mr. Sparapani now advises tech companies. He says there’s a lot that we don’t know about what’s being collected and sold about us. This includes everything from your political views to your medical records, and everything in between. Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can look at, buy or sell or know anything medical about you. They can follow and study what you buy online and the places you go to. For the longest time, data brokers have kept such a low profile. But now, a handful have come on the surface. There’s Paramount Lists, which has people struggling with addictions and debt. There’s Response Solutions; they have bipolar patients. Then there’s Stalistics. They broker the names of gays and lesbians.

Why are these data broker firms coming out now? Is it because they chose to or because they were exposed? I could care less. I’m just glad these issues are being discussed. Some may actually see positive aspects of data breaking. But at least we have concrete knowledge and know it’s being done and we can have an open debate about such issues. Do you believe data selling is ethical?


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