Privacy Perils: Exactly What Data Have You Been Giving Away?

October 12, 2018
Firm Publication

By now, we all know that just about every app or website we use is collecting data on us and doing something with it. Some websites might simply collect your email address and gender. Others know who your friends are, what your politics are, your “Royal Wedding Name” and what Gilligan’s Island character you most resemble. Still others know your every move during the day (hello, Google). The site My Data Request provides a way for you to determine exactly what data most popular sites have collected on you. The folks at this site have read through the privacy policies of over 100 different companies and offer a quick and easy way for you to figure out what data is being collected about you and where and how you can download it if you want to see what you’ve given away. A few of the companies included on the site are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Uber, TripAdvisor, Wells Fargo, YouTube, Venmo, Waze, Evernote, and Spotify, just for starters.

To use the site, search for a particular app or website you use, or browse through the options they display. When you click on one, a window will pop up with a quick link to the company’s privacy policy as well as a link you can click on to download your data from that company. The data you are able to request might vary based on whether you are in the EU, California, or elsewhere. Some sites don’t have a ready link, but require you to send an email, complete an online form, or send a letter with the request. Mydatarequest.com has templates for whatever type of communication is necessary pursuant to the app’s particular privacy policy, so that you can send the request instantly. The site is not going to prevent those companies from continuing to collect and store info on you and doesn’t appear to give you the option to simultaneously delete the account, but it can be a quick and easy way to check in on what info you’re putting out there so you can decide if you want to continue to participate.

Privacy Perils imageCheck out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact Bob BrewerTony McFarlandElizabeth Warren or a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.