Asked for your personal data? Here’s how to decide if you’re getting enough value in return.

Gal Ringel
5
min read

Not sure if you’re getting enough value from a service to be sharing your data? <hl>This article will help you decide.<hl>

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When discussing data privacy issues, we always say that users should determine whether a specific service offers significant value before allowing it to collect and use their data. Value serves as a focal point in many privacy debates because once we understand what is taken away from us, we want to know what we get in return. Sharing personal data might come with associated risks, but it can make it all worth it if provided with enough value.

We wanted to take this opportunity to dive a little deeper and discuss the meaning of value in that respect. Here’s our value-focused checklist to help you become a data-savvy internet user and keep your data safe.

The building blocks of online value

  • Frequency of usage: How often do you use this service? Daily, monthly, or once in a blue moon? Chances are you’re sharing data around the clock, so if you only use it on rare occasions, you’re likely giving more than you’re getting back. If it’s not too much of a hassle to only sign up when you actually need to use this online service, this might be a better option.
  • Uniqueness and importance: How much do you rely on this service, and how easy would it be to replace it with another similar service, preferably one that asks for fewer permissions? The more unique and crucial the service, the more it justifies sharing your personal information in exchange for using it. If good and less invasive alternatives exist, it might still be worth it to consider making the switch.  
  • Data relevancy: How does the information you share improve your experience of using this service? Is it even necessary for the smooth operation of the functionalities you need? This is an important question because it touches the very core of data privacy concerns. An online service that requests extensive access for no reason should cause you to raise an eyebrow and lower your willingness to share.
  • The service’s approach towards data: The previous point leads us to this one. Do your due diligence to find out how the online service treats private data in general. This includes checking the above mentioned unnecessary permission requests, what you can learn about any 3rd parties that the company collaborates with, and any commitment not to sell or offer your data mentioned in the privacy policy.  Mine makes it easy for you to learn from real-time data experiences by sharing how companies treat consumers’ data deletion requests in action. This can help you to make informed decisions about which companies to share your data with. Another issue worth checking is any reports about data breaches that the service might have experienced in the past and their response to such events. A company that doesn’t take your privacy seriously will ask for unnecessary permissions and fail to take responsibility when having private information exposed.

See the Top 50 Companies with the best data deletion experience in 2020 here.

  • Data sensitivity: You should care about the type of data you’re asked to share with a specific service. The more sensitive and personal the information, the more you should consider if it makes sense to offer access to it. If this information is traded or breached, will you suffer severe damage? If the answer is yes, the service has to offer top value in return. Financial or health-related companies may top the list, but this is a decision you must make for yourself.
  • Your gut feeling: Do you feel that you get a lot of “bang for your data?” Do you feel safe offering private information to this service? Does this company seem trustworthy? Your gut feeling may not be a direct value indication, but it can help you differentiate between companies you can and can’t trust. Data is personal, and so is this decision-making process.

OK, you figured out whether or not a service offers significant value. Now what?

If you’ve decided that it’s worth sharing your data, the process doesn’t end here. Data management is an ongoing process that should be monitored periodically. The value you receive based on the above criteria may change over time. Make sure to go back and check your digital footprint through your Mine account every once in a while. It’s quick, simple, and could be crucial to minimize digital risks.

If you’ve chosen to keep this information to yourself and this is a service you’re already using, it’s time to take back ownership of your data. By sending an official deletion request, you can ensure that this online solution doesn’t have access to your private information if it no longer offers you the value according to your standards.  

Remember: your personal information is valuable and worth protecting. Our research shows that the average internet user has around 350 different services in their digital footprint. Are they all offering something worthwhile in return? Probably not. Today is the data to take the first step towards enhanced privacy and set some boundaries. You’ll thank yourself later.