Watch CBS News

Eye on Cyber: How Data Brokers Are Buying And Selling Your Info

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There's a lot of publicly available data on you, and it's easier than ever to pull it all together and sell it.

So who is collecting all this data, and what are the risks?

Selling your data has become big business for many companies, and you might be surprised by what they know. Just have a baby? They've probably heard about it. Same goes if you recently bought a house or take a prescription drug regularly.

Data brokers are tracking, compiling and selling almost every move you make.

"I'm not happy about it, but it's a tradeoff that we made for technology," one person told CBS2's Siobhan Gorman.

"I don't feel comfortable, but there's no other way. It seems like everything is being tracked," said another.

"It's a violation of much more than personal space and privacy," another added.

The list of buyers is long, including financial institutions, cable companies, retail stores, political campaigns and even other data brokers.

How does it work? The brokers collect and analyze records from government or public sources, as well as from those warranty cards consumers file, social media posts and your web search behavior.

The risk is that it's one-stop shopping for a hacker who wants to steal tons of data.

So what can you do? Detele cookies in your web browser regularly, log out of social media sites when you do web searches, and opt out of data broker collection sources, like public records and U.S. search.

If you're willing to forgo the store discounts, you can stop using store loyalty cards. They are a big source of information for data brokers.

Find more from "Eye on Cyber" by clicking here.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.