Explainers

The High Cost of Data Mining

September 6th, 2018

Whether you call it information harvesting or data mining, the outcome is the same. Companies and big corporations gather data you provide and use it to identify trends, to improve targeted marketing methods, and to discover relationships between people and the products and services they use. Maybe you don’t mind giving out this information knowingly, but when it’s being amassed without your knowledge, and your children are contributing, the stakes go up.

There’s a lot involved in this parenting gig, and a large part of it involves keeping kids safe online. If you’ve ever heard the old adage that “nothing is ever free,” then you’ll understand what we’re talking about when we say that free WiFi, free apps, and free social media is anything but.

There’s a price you and your children pay for all of this, and it comes in the form of information harvesting.

When you agree to use a service, it’s all spelled out for you in black and white in the terms of service, but in a nutshell, you’re agreeing to the monitoring and collection of your data while you or your child are logged on.

Even if you don’t mind that Big Brother is hovering off-stage monitoring your internet usage and that of your kids, you should keep in mind that free WiFi is also a favorite ploy that hackers use to draw in unsuspecting users. By setting up a fake hotspot, virtually anyone can intercept the information you’re transmitting. These Man-in-the-Middle attacks happen when a hacker intercepts a legitimate signal being offered by a business or venue. Essentially, attackers insert themselves between you and the company that’s offering the free access, giving them the ability to read your emails, track the websites you’re visiting and even to steal sensitive information such as passwords and account numbers. Worst of all? You’ll never know it’s happening.

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