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Can we control our internet profile?

"In the future, everyone will be anonymous for 15 minutes." So said the artist Banksy, but following the rush to put everything online, from relationship status to holiday destinations, is it really possible to be anonymous - even briefly - in the internet age?

That saying, a twist on Andy Warhol's famous "15 minutes of fame" line, has been interpreted to mean many things by fans and critics alike. But it highlights the real difficulty of keeping anything private in the 21st Century.

"Today, we have more digital devices than ever before and they have more sensors that capture more data about us," says Prof Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger of the Oxford Internet Institute.

And it matters. According to a survey from the recruitment firm Careerbuilder, in the US last year 70% of companies used social media to screen job candidates, and 48% checked the social media activity of current staff.

Also, financial institutions can check social media profiles when deciding whether to hand out loans.

Is it really possible to be anonymous in the internet age?

Meanwhile, companies create models of buying habits, political views and even use artificial intelligence to gauge future habits based on social media profiles.

One way to try to take control is to delete social media accounts, which some did after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, when 87 million people had their Facebook data secretly harvested for political advertising purposes.

- Netflix Cambridge Analytica film- Social media is 'like a crime scene'

- Facebook to pay $5bn to settle privacy concerns

- Is leaving Facebook the only way to protect your data? While deleting social media accounts may be the most obvious way to remove personal data, this will not have any impact on data held by other companies.

Fortunately, in some countries the law offers protection.

Data Brokerage A Serious Concern?

With the increasing worth and volume of personal data, Data Brokers have begun to gain a gigantic amount of 'traction' as of late, offering to oversee and monetize consumers' personal data sets. Utilizing a variety of assets to assemble data, the firm gathers consumer data and offers to sell them to other business.

The data gathered is typically sold as profiles which are offered to different business, hoping to target individuals for various ad campaigns.

For some people over the world, data brokerage may be an extremely new term; however, this 'plan of action' has turned out to be one of the most profitable ones in this period — it is a $200 Billion industry.

So as to keep your information from getting sold or utilized by somebody, out of the considerable number of data brokers in the business, 43% of them enable consumers to 'opt-out' for free while others may need to pay a certain amount.

There was a rather shocking incident from India where in 2017, The Economic Times reached out as a purchaser to a data broker, selling personal data, and what they found was quite surprising, for just ₹10,000 and ₹15,000, the company was selling personal data of up to 1 lakh citizens in urban areas like Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi.

While there have been many unlawful exercises and approaches by Data Brokers, this business frequently is known to operate following the law. They may get hold of a 'huge amount of data'; in any case, the manner in which they accumulate it doesn't appear to be illegal in any way.

Data Brokerage in the wake of turning into a genuine worry in the on-going long periods of its ascent, it has fallen under cautious examination and governments of numerous countries have already begun watching out for the operations of these companies.

In any case, the internet is something to be careful about as one of the common ways for gathering information is via the internet for the openly accessible information i.e. public data and people there can do things way beyond our imagination.