Magazine article Mother Jones

They Know What You Did Last Summer

Magazine article Mother Jones

They Know What You Did Last Summer

Article excerpt

Meet some of the data brokers that help corporations sift through and sell your digital life.

Serving (up) the single ladies

Data logix tracks the spending habits of more than no million households using sources such as store loyalty cards. It partners with Twitter and Facebookto assess whether groups of users buy the cooking gear or brand of shampoo advertised on their social-media pages. Data logix doesn't know that a certain Mother Jones journalist bought a quart of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Thera py after changing her Facebook status back to "single,"but it can help determine whether a targeted group of twentysomething professional women who left relationships bought that icecream.

Opt out? You can do so on the company's website, butthe request takes 30 days to process and each household member must opt out separately.

Companies that sell similar info: Acxiom, Epsilon, BlueKai, V12 Group

Dude, where's my car?

TLO, a "background research" company, uses technology that scans and reads license plates collected by cameras mounted on parking garages, roads, and bridges from coast to coast. The company claims to have collated more than i billion time-stamped reports containing photographs and specific locations of vehicles, which TLO markets to law enforcement agencies, law firms, and data brokers.

Opt out? Not unless you can limit yourdrivingto dirt roads.

Companies that sell similar info: MVTRAC, Vigilant Solutions

Cheap credit scores and...Baby Einstein videos?

With credit reports on at least 299 million consumers, Experian doesn't just hold the key to whetheryou'll get a car loan or home mortgage: It also sells "life-event" data to advertisers, marketing a database that is "updated weekly with the names of expectant parents and families with newborns," and new homeowners, among other information. …

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