But have you ever wondered what it all means? It’s simple: when you accept cookies, you permit those websites to track and collect your personal data.
But what is personal data?
Personal data defined
In the digital sense, personal data is anything that pertains to you when you surf the Internet. It can be anything from the length of time you spend on certain websites, your spending habits, browsing history, email address, location, web cookies, age, and beliefs. Your personal data also includes your credit card details and biometric data you input when shopping online. In short, personal data is anything that identifies you as an individual.
Now, if you’re surfing an editorial website such as Forbes or Investopedia, you wouldn’t have to input any sensitive or financial personal data. Still, such websites keep track of your browsing habits, IP address, and lots more.
“Oh, these things can’t harm me in any way, so why should I be bothered?”
Why personal data is such a big deal
The four top tech companies — Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft — amass a staggering 1.2 trillion USD yearly by selling your data.
But do they have the right to use your data however they want? Should you just sit back while someone makes money off you without your knowledge?
Giving back power to consumers
Governments have seen how businesses take advantage of Internet users. To give back control to consumers, they created the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These regulations give you the right to know how any website uses your personal information. And such websites can only track you only when you give permission.
This is important because you can now choose to restrict websites from collecting your data and selling it to brands you find unethical.
Monetizing your data
The companies that buy your data would be unfamiliar to you because they don’t deal directly with you. Instead, they deal with the big tech companies that collect your information, such as Facebook.
But you can monetize your data by selling it yourself instead of giving it all away on a platter of gold. Data monetization is a big deal; you can monetize your online data through data licensing. This is where you choose what information to give off in exchange for a fee.
You leave digital traces of your identity whenever you surf the web. But now that you know how big of a deal your personal data is, you can choose to have a say in how websites use it. You can also decide to sell it yourself because, indeed, personal data is a valuable commodity.