SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — If emails flooded your inbox this past weekend alerting you to new privacy policies, you are not alone, but before you hit delete, you might want to pay attention to the details.
The emails came from companies like Amazon, Facebook and the GPS app you use, but if you simply delete them, you may opt-in to share your information.
“I’ve just been deleting them,” said Jen Cline.
“I keep getting these emails so I don’t really know what to do with everything,” said Brendan John. “I kinda delete it and go on.”
Most people see it as spam, while others may give it a passing glance, but don’t really get it.
“My personal information has been found on the dark web and that’s very troubling,” said Sharon Asaro. “They recommended that we change all our passwords and that’s troubling to be out there on social media and that my personal information is being sold somewhere.”
Emory Roane of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse told KUSI not to ignore them.
“You should be reading your privacy policies to see if you have options,” said Emory Roane of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
The name of the game is advertising, so your information is very valuable to the advertising community and to the companies they work for. They want to know what you like, what you tweet, or who your favorite actor is. This is an effort to target you for ads.
Do we have options to opt out of these ads?
“That’s a very tough question. I think it hits on the need for robust privacy regulations and privacy protections in the United States,” Roane said. “What sort of choices do we have in the matter? Unfortunately, we don’t have as many choices as I think we should.”
That’s because some of the companies don’t give you easy options to opt out.
According to Roane, your personal preferences are worth a lot of money.
“Yes, yes, people should be concerned with how their data is being used online,” Roane said. “Their data is extremely valuable and, in certain circumstances, it can be extremely dangerous, especially for people that depend on their privacy more than the average individual.”
Roane does think the updated privacy options are actually a small victory. You just have to be proactive and guard it.
“Check for sections that say information we collect, the information we share with and what choices you have in the matter, ” Roane said. “If you can find those three sections, you have a much better idea of what sort of collection practices are going on with these companies.”
According to Roane, it’s ultimately up to you to decide what information you want to share.
“So wherever possible, we should approach privacy from the direction that users should opt into things, rather than opt out,” Roane said.
These instructions below will show you step-by-step how to control the data shared with advertisers on Twitter.
Go to the Settings and Privacy tab in Twitter. Click on a button called Your Twitter data. Scroll down and choose Interests and ads data. This will show you a list of the number of advertisers that are trying to target you based on your interests.