It's not news that companies mine and sell your data, but the ins and outs of how it works aren't always clear. The US Federal Trade Commission recently published a report that explains how it works in a little more detail.
Photo by JESHOOTS
Consumerist has collected this info in a useful list, which you can check out at the link below (along with the original report), but one of the most concerning details is how companies can use your data with a "probabilistic" method even when you're not logged into an account. Consumerist explains:
Something probabilistic, on the other hand, is an inference — an educated guess — on the advertiser's part. Let's say you log into a shopping site from your phone, at home. If that has the same IP address as your home PC, that increases the chance both are you. Then let's say you use the WiFi at work to log in again from your phone the next day, and you've also logged into that site using your work laptop, once again sharing an IP address. That chain of A=B and B=C mathematically leads a computer to make a pretty good guess that A=B=C, and all three logins are you.
The more you browse, the more clues you offer to support this approach and, worst of all, you have no idea it's happening. For more detail, head to the links below.