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Are There Perils To Posting Personal Information Online?

May 04 2011

data exchange computers"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit."
– Napoleon Hill

We have all heard about the perils of posting our personal information online. There's privacy violations, identity theft and credit card fraud, just to name a few. What about finding a way that data can benefit us?

It's seems appropriate that we ought to be able to utilize the vast amounts of information about our likes and dislikes that companies, we most likely haven't even heard of, have collected about us. And they ought to offer it to us in a format that is easy to download and export to another website for our own purposes.

Don't we have a right to access data about ourselves? The British government thinks so, and they have announced an initiative called 'mydata.' The plan calls for asking businesses to provide British consumers with their information in a computer-friendly mannerThe plan calls for asking businesses to provide British consumers with their information in a computer-friendly manner.

There are many ways that we can take our collected data and benefit from it. Comparison shopping for products and services like cell phone service plans, insurance providers, or car rentals would be a breeze. Just download your data from your current provider, analyze it a bit if you want, and upload it into an application or website that will show you what may be your best choice.

Facebook has already taken a proactive stand for you and your data. You can preserve your Facebook content with a one button download tool. You just go to Account Settings – Download Your Information, and click on the green Download button. When I did it, there was a message that said it would take a little while and they would send me an email. About two hours later, I got an email saying my download was ready. I clicked on the link and downloaded my information. That feature makes it easy to preserve my information for my personal use.

Look for ways that you can use your data for your benefit. It seems like there will be scores of valuable applications and websites which will help you be a better, smarter shopper, like many of the travel and other comparison sites that are out there now. This will help keep businesses on their toes, striving to provide superior products and services, since they know that they will be showing up right next to the competition. Personal data access may be a great boon for the economy and it may be the best thing that has happened for consumers in a long time.

Darity Wesley is CEO and Legal Counsel for Privacy Solutions, Inc., a San Diego based consulting firm. You can always reach Darity at [email protected] or 619-670-9462.