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May 28, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:29am

10 habits that scary data brokers know about you

New Federal Trade Commission report sheds light on data brokers and what data they actually have on US citizens.

By Ben Sullivan

If you’ve not heard of a data broker before, then this may come as a bit of a shock – there are companies out there in the US that know more about you than Google and Facebook. They probably know more about you than your own family.

These companies are data brokers, and they buy and sell your personal data like hot cakes. Your data is worth a lot of money, and such companies include Acxiom, Datalogix, eBureau, Intelius, and the hauntingly-named PeekYou and Recorded Future.

To help US consumers understand what exactly is happening here, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a report today that shines a little light on what data these companies are collecting. The report included a list (page 97-100) that detailed the data collected, and there are some things you really wouldn’t expect. Here are ten of the weirdest and scariest.

Are you a Twitter User with 250+ Friends?

Yes, if you have more than 250 followers you are seen to have an online influence. Hey, maybe you’ll get free products to advertise to your friends.


What kind of photos have you uploaded?

We obviously know Facebook owns our photos, but who knew basement-lurking data brokers were trawling through your Florida ’09 snaps to see what type of sunglasses you prefer.


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Preferred Movie Genres

Throw them off your trail; watch Love Actually followed by Die Hard 4.0.


Preferred Music Genres

Okay, this one’s not so creepy, but still – THEY’RE IN YOUR RADIO


Type of Media Posted

Cats! That’s all they’ll see me posting about.



Do you lean left politcially?

Strange there’s no ‘leans right’ option.


Do you buy shooting games?

Whether this is for targeting the next Call of Duty game at your or an attempt to work out if you’re gun habit might be a bit of a liability, we’re not sure.


Type of Food Purchased?

Eat more McDonald’s, loyal citizens!


Are you a member of a biker gang/Hell’s Angels?

Are you in a biker gang? If so, maybe you’ll own the next product on this list…


Do you own a Novelty Elvis

This is weird. I guess wanting to own a novelty Elvis says a lot about you…



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