Explainers

Data Vampires

September 6th, 2018

They say that a vampire can’t come into your home until you let him in. It is the same with the vampires behind the free WiFi who you allow into your devices. To many people those two words are music to their ears, but they often aren’t aware of what is really at stake. What does “free” mean exactly, especially in this context? What are the privacy implications that come with it? The truth is, the cost is much higher than you may think when you click that “Accept and Agree” button. You essentially open the door to data collectors from every app you use, and every website you visit. And,unfortunately, children also unwittingly open this door every day.

That little button seems so innocuous – and that’s part of the ploy. You don’t really think about it because, you need to connect and it is free. The truth of the matter, though, is that single click sets in motion an elaborate process to capture your data and monetize it for the app, the game, or the entity behind the “Accept and Agree” button.

On the surface this breach of privacy may not seem like such a big deal. You may reason that companies, marketers, and advertisers are gathering the information to make our internet experiences more enjoyable and productive. However, there is a darker side. There are very real predators lurking, waiting to snatch up your information and use it in unscrupulous ways.

Everyone likes free stuff. The problem is, the internet is largely unregulated. There are laws in place, but the global nature, combined with the clever ways that criminals can hide means that a free offer could lead to a data breach, hacking, or worse. As criminals become more technologically sophisticated our risks become greater. We may feel okay risking having our personal data exposed, but are we okay exposing our children?

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