Nowadays, it’s rare not to find specific information on the internet. With the Internet of Things making information able to spread far and wide, an abundance of information is available online.
Unfortunately, this often includes personal information about you that you didn’t know you were sharing.
Gathering data is easy for anyone, especially using tools like a No-Code Web Scraper, so it’s not even necessary to know coding to collect data at scale. Anyone can use these tools at any time.
Ways to gather Data
There are several ways your data and information, in general, are being gathered. Some require a tool or application to run, while others are built into the features of several everyday devices we use.
Web scraping refers to gathering information from a website’s HTML code and consolidating it into an excel spreadsheet or local file on your computer.
You can use a No-Code Web Scraper without knowing about coding or a computing system’s back-end. Free and premium ones are available, and you can even hire people who do this as a job.
Many businesses buy information from professional web scrapers instead of doing it themselves.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things refers to the range of devices worldwide that are connected to the internet. It can be any device, provided a line of communication between the device and an online network exists.
For example, if you can turn your lightbulb on and off using your phone, that lightbulb is part of the Internet of Things. Your phone, laptop, smartwatch, smart TV, automatic thermostat are all part of the Internet of Things.
The scary thing about the Internet of Things is that it’s continuously gathering data and placing it into the cloud without human interference. Your smartphone is a prime example of an everyday device that gathers your information and shares it.
Android phones share your location, browsing preferences, and more unless you manually switch off that function.
The feedback many apps and software on your phone sends to the developers contain information like your app preferences, online activity, etc.
Another typical example is drawing tablets, specifically Wacom tablets. These tablets exfiltrate user data, ostentatiously, to better the user experience.
You must plug this tablet into your computer or laptop to use it, and it allows the device a direct line to your PC. Researchers have found that the tablet tracks which applications you have open on your laptop while it’s connected and running.
The surprising thing is that it’s completely legal because they outline in their privacy agreement that they’re allowed to send data to Google Analytics on your user data, technical sessions, and information on your hardware.
Many of these devices have such sections worked into their privacy agreements, and users are none the wiser, simply because not many bother to read these agreements.
Type of Data Gathered
While we now know why our data is being gathered, we still don’t necessarily know which data is gathered.
Typical data that’s being gathered about you daily is your location, online searches, used applications, and website preferences. Unless you turn off your location services, your phone tracks your location every second of your day.
Your search history and online activity leave a footprint on your device that’s collected by several applications on your devices.
Ultimately, it leaves you with no privacy, as third parties now have access to your daily routine and interests. However, the question is why businesses are interested in this information.
Why Businesses Gather Data
We’ve all experienced being curious about the latest car model or fashion item, looking it up, and then being bombarded with ads for that item. That’s the crux of the matter behind why businesses gather your information.
It’s to better target you with ads relevant to your interests and location. If you’re looking into buying a motorcycle, many apps like Instagram, Facebook and Chrome will start blasting you with the latest offers on motorcycles in the market.
If you’re visiting a new city, your ads will suddenly reflect offers in the area. However, targeted ads can at times become invasive and violate your privacy.
Businesses are also interested in knowing what type of applications you often use. For a device like Wacom, it allows the company to see what drawing program you’re using with their hardware or the browser you most often use.
It allows them to adjust their devices to integrate better with these applications. Generally, all your information is being gathered for market research.
It’s also why you receive so much spam. When you sign up at one company or website, you often don’t realize that they’ll share your email with all affiliates who start marketing their services to you.
The worst is that this often isn’t a case where you can untick a box if you don’t want to agree. If you use the product, you’re consenting to their privacy agreement, and if you don’t accept the policy and give consent, then you can’t use the product.
The Internet of Things gathers information without human interference. Furthermore, a No-Code Web Scraper is more commonly used nowadays to gather the latest consumer trends and customer data.
Your data is being spread whenever you use almost any device, and there’s not much you can do to prevent it. If you’re concerned about privacy, then the Internet of Things is not the best idea.
However, living without any contact with the Internet of Things is almost impossible unless you go totally off the grid.
That’s why using various methods to protect yourself is better, with options like proxies and VPNs available that make this possible.