This Company Sells Your Credit Card Data

Yodlee is the biggest financial data broker in the U.S., and it routinely sells your credit card data to investment and research firms.

The Yodlee document describes in detail what type of data its clients gain access to, how the company manages that data across its infrastructure, and the specific measures Yodlee takes to try and anonymize its dataset…Once logged into Yodlee’s server, clients download the data as a large text file, rather than interacting with the data in a dashboard or interface that stays solely within Yodlee’s control, according to the document.

How Jeff Bezos Built a Data Collecting Empire

BBC News published an inside look into “Why Amazon knows so much about you.”

“They happen to sell products, but they are a data company,” says James Thomson, one of the former executives interviewed.

“Each opportunity to interact with a customer is another opportunity to collect data.”

Founder Jeff Bezos frames it in terms of being a “customer obsession”, saying the firm’s first priority is to “figure out what they want, what’s important to them”.

Czech Authorities Investigate Avast Over Data Collection

Investigations are underway to examine Avast’s practice of collecting and selling its users’ browser histories.

Avast, which is based in the Czech Republic, claimed it was stripping away users’ personal details from the collected browser histories as a way to “de-identify” the data, and preserve their customers’ privacy. However, the joint investigation from PCMag and Motherboard found the contrary: The same data can actually be combined with other information to identify the web activities of individual Avast users, including their internet searches. As many as 100 million users had their data collected.

I’m glad there are investigations. As I found out last week, there are likely other companies participating in this data collection practice.

Edison Mail Uses Your Emails For Market Research

Popular Apple Mail alternative Edison Mail scans your emails for market research so companies can make “better investment decisions” among other uses.

On its website Edison says that it does “process” users’ emails, but some users did not know that when using the Edison app the company scrapes their inbox for profit. Motherboard has also obtained documentation that provides more specifics about how two other popular apps—Cleanfox and Slice—sell products based on users’ emails to corporate clients.

I did write about Edison Mail coming to the Mac last year, and noted that the company calls it “interesting research.”

Not Wanting Surveillance Competition, Facebook Tells Clearview AI to Back Off

Last month, we got word that a company called Clearview AI helped law enforcement with its facial recognition technology. Now, Facebook and Google, which also use facial recognition, told Clearview AI to stop scraping images from each one’s website.

Ton-That argued that his firm’s work is protected by the First Amendment and also that Clearview doesn’t do anything Google doesn’t.

“The way we have built our system is to only take publicly available information and index it that way,” he said.

Ton-That added, “Google can pull in information from all different websites… So if it’s public and it’s out there and could be inside Google search engine, it can be inside ours as well.”

Avast Probably Isn't The Only Antivirus Company Selling User Data

In today’s episode of The Mac Observer‘s Daily Observations podcast, Kelly and I did our Security Friday. We talked about two security articles this week, and answered a reader’s question about antivirus programs. I mentioned that people shouldn’t use Avast since it was revealed they collected and sold user data. Now, in the irony of ironies, I got an email today from someone offering me Trend Micro user data.

We have an updated contact list of Trend Micro Users, which can support your marketing campaigns. The database will have access to complete contact information of Trend Micro Users including Emails, Phone number, Mailing address and other relevant data fields. Please let me know your interest in acquiring the list and I will get back to you with counts and pricing. Also, let me know if you are interested in acquiring similar technology users contact list.

That’s a no from me, fam.