Do You Know What Happens To Your Personal Data Online?

Personal data. It’s something you don’t want getting into the wrong hands, yet you enter it into online forms on a regular basis. You transmit that information with the click of a mouse button and probably don’t think twice afterward. The thing is, you’ve sent your personal data on a journey from Point A to Point B, and anything can happen to it once it arrives.

The good news is, there are laws that govern what can be done to your data when it’s received. The bad news is, you might not know about this because of the vague laws that govern compliance. Following are some of the things that happen to your data and what you can do about it.


HTTP is shorthand for HyperText Transportation Protocol. It’s the manner in which everyone gets from one webpage to the next. When a website has S after the HTTP, you know it’s a secure page. The difference between HTTP and HTTPS is security. If you transmit personal data over a website that has HTTP, you’re putting that data in jeopardy of being intercepted by a third party and used for nefarious purposes. Always check for the S before you submit your personal data on any website. If the S isn’t there, close the window and go elsewhere.

Read the Privacy Policy

When you enter into a relationship with a provider of some kind, you typically check the box saying you have read through the privacy policy. Odds are pretty good you didn’t actually read the policy. More likely, you scrolled down to get the box to light up and clicked on it. That privacy policy tells you what that provider does with your information, which can include doing things like selling it to third parties that do what they like with the information. It’s a nuisance, but until laws prohibit such sale of your information, it’s something you have to tolerate. You can inform yourself by reading the policy and defending yourself against unwanted advertising later.

The Protections of the GDPR

The EU General Data Protection Regulation equalizes data privacy laws across Europe and gives EU citizens more control over their data. While the UK is opting out of the EU via Brexit, the cross-border nature of the UK and the EU is still very much in existence. Companies with EU customers and vice versa still have to comply with the GDPR. That gives EU customers the right to find out what a UK company is doing with their data along with the benefit of privacy rules written in plain language. The GDPR is the strictest piece of legislation yet, and it benefits consumers greatly.

Never assume a company has your best interests in mind when it comes to your personal data. Companies are more interested in profit and will do what they can to make more money. Empower yourself by learning what happens to your information, and make a conscious decision to work with companies who won’t sell it online.

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