Since there’s enough speculation on where in the world Malaysian Air flight 370 and I look to Richard Engel to keep me up to date on all things Crimea, I’m going to jump right into my very short list of what I found most interesting this week.
Lovers of Amazon Prime! The next time you renew your Amazon Prime, the price will be $99. Time reports that the $20 price increase is the first since it was introduce 9 years ago but if you’re a student, you can still pay $49 as your annual fee as long as you have an .edu email address. If you’re not sure if the price jump is worth it, Slate has a widget that helps you calculate if the $99 fee is worth it in just 3 steps. Using Should I Get Amazon Prime simply type in the number of orders you made on Amazon last year (don’t worry- you can look this up on your Amazon account), how many were eligible for Prime shipping, and click to calculate. Use the Should I Get Amazon Prime widget.
We know that the NSA is watching us but did you also know that data brokers are watching your every move online and selling your personal information gathered from your web browsing history, social media moves, and any online forms you’ve ever filled out? Never heard of a data broker? You’re not alone according to 60 Minutes who aired a story called The Data Brokers investigated by the experienced Steve Kroft. Here’s a little snippet from The Data Brokers that aired on March 9:
Most people have never heard of data brokers, but it’s a multibillion dollar industry that operates in the shadows with virtually no oversight. Data brokers collect, analyze, and package some of our most sensitive personal information and sell it as a commodity to each other, to advertisers, even to the government– often without our direct knowledge.
To the 60 Minutes team’s surprise, much of our personal data is collected while we surf the web. When digital privacy expert Ashkan Soltani used a software program called Disconnect to reveal how third parties lurk in the background and observe users as they visit websites, Kroft said he was “amazed.”
It’s true and quite shocking how much information is being mined and is tied back to our personal identities. 60 Minutes’ investigative report on the data broker industry that is a must-watch and will shock even the most tech savvy. The following clip (2:46) is from the full 15 minute story that can be watched in its entirety on the 60 Minutes website.