According to Pando Daily's Yasha Levine, companies like Google and others in the data brokerage industry, generate billions in revenue with the "petabytes of data it collects" by selling "detailed information on just about every adult in the western world." And you were worried about the NSA reading your emails?
No source of information is sacred: transaction records are bought in bulk from stores, retailers and merchants; magazine subscriptions are recorded; food and restaurant preferences are noted; public records and social networks are scoured and scraped. What kind of prescription drugs did you buy? What kind of books are you interested in? Are you a registered voter? To what non-profits do you donate? What movies do you watch? Political documentaries? Hunting reality TV shows?
That info is combined and kept up to date with address, payroll information, phone numbers, email accounts, social security numbers, vehicle registration and financial history. And all that is sliced, isolated, analyzed and mined for data about you and your habits in a million different ways.
The dossiers are not restricted to generic market segmenting categories like Young Literati or Shotguns and Pickups or Kids & Cul-de-Sacs, but often contain the most private and intimate details about a persons life, all of it packaged and sold over and over again to anyone willing to pay.
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