What Are Your Rights? Online Data Collection

Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Interviewer: In an age where millions of Facebook users have had their personal information harvested by groups such as Cambridge Analytica and tech giants such as Google Tracking compile information, it seems as if personal privacy is shrinking and may soon be extinct. Every day, people all over this country turn over troves of information about themselves, from their likes and dislikes to their location, minute-by-minute. So is this a dangerous practice and are there any limits? Here to help examine this issue is supervising attorney, Dan Dagostino, from the law firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Dan, nice to see you back.

Dan: Nice to see you, too. Thank you.

Interviewer: Thanks for joining us. So we’ll jump right into it. We’re talking about all this information that companies like Facebook, they acquire about us. What are they doing with it and what does this mean?

Dan: Well, what they’re doing is, essentially, they’re directly profiling us. They’re trying to find out what our interests are, what our likes, what our dislikes are. You know, to them, knowledge is power. So what they’re able to do is, they’re able to, along with their marketing and advertising, companies use this information so they know, you know, what types of ads would be most receptive to the individual.

Interviewer: But what kind of effect does this have on our own personal safety and security?

Dan: Well, you know, I guess what they’re saying is none. They’re saying that any information they get is not directly related to our names or our addresses, but as you know, probably like me, when I get in my car in the morning, it tells me 30-something minutes to work. So, they’re getting your locations and where you’re going, how often you’re going there, and using it for, you know, retail purposes.

Interviewer: Not just these companies, though. What is the purpose of our phones, you know, tracking us, using GPS to know where we’re at at all times?

Dan: Well, for what they’re gonna say, and it is true, is it gives optimal use of the apps that we’re using. However, again, the information they’re able to acquire from us allows them, you know, we’ll say companies like Facebook and others, to learn what we like, and by virtue of what we like, how to, you know, directly market to each individual.

Interviewer: How extensive is this data and should we be worried?

Dan: Well, I think it’s very extensive. Again, whether you should be worried or not, you know, there has been studies that show that, you know, they are getting information, from the types of retail products we like to political candidates that we support, and they’re selling it to individuals so that they can subliminally market to all of us.

Interviewer: All right, Dan. Thank you so much for answering our questions. Of course, our viewers at home, if you’re just joining us this afternoon, maybe just tuning in and only caught half of that, head on over to our website where we’ll be posting this interview with Dan D’Agostino. Just head over to cbs6albany.com.