Whenever we go online, we generate a lot of data – what sites we look at, what purchases we make, what searches we conduct, what apps we use. Companies collect, sell and use this data. They know more about us than at any other point in history.
That includes our internal lives. Advertisers know more about our weaknesses, insecurities, and emotional and behavioral patterns than ever before – and they use it to target us with ads online. Those targeted ads serve a range of purposes – from scamming or manipulating consumers, to just further increasing over-consumption and its environmental costs – none of which are in the public interest.
The FTC is considering writing rules to rein in “commercial surveillance”. PIRG supports writing new rules to protect people’s data, and to make sure companies are only collecting about us what they need to deliver the service we’re expecting – and using it only for that purpose.
You can download PIRG’s comments to the FTC above.
Tell the FTC: Stop companies from selling our personal data
Did you know that hundreds of companies you’ve never heard of make billions of dollars every year selling people’s personal information online -- probably including yours?
Director, Don't Sell My Data Campaign, PIRG; Policy Analyst, Frontier Group
R.J. focuses on data privacy issues and the commercialization of personal data in the digital age. Her work ranges from consumer harms like scams and data breaches, to manipulative targeted advertising, to keeping kids safe online. In her work at Frontier Group, she has authored research reports on government transparency, predatory auto lending and consumer debt. Her work has appeared in WIRED magazine, CBS Mornings and USA Today, among other outlets. When she’s not protecting the public interest, she is an avid reader, fiction writer and birder.