Privacy is a big issue as of late. When you think of that, you think about Google snooping into your email, Apple lacking an iPhone address book security, and Facebook snooping into your data and selling it away. But that's not all we should think about. The New York Times reports that there is one organization few of us ever consider:
"It knows who you are. It knows where you live. It knows what you do... It peers deeper into American life than the F.B.I. or the I.R.S., or those prying digital eyes at Facebook and Google. If you are an American adult, the odds are that it knows things like your age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams - and on and on.
"Right now in Conway, Ark., north of Little Rock, more than 23,000 computer servers are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data for a company that, unlike Silicon Valley's marquee names, rarely makes headlines. It's called the Acxiom Corporation, and it's the quiet giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing."
Companies like Acxiom operate on a terrifying scale. According to the Times, Acxiom's servers process more than 50 trillion data transactions a year, and it's database contains information about 500 million consumers worldwide.
The company makes money by selling its information to customers like HSBC, Toyota, Ford and more. And while you might think, this is ethically wrong, it's not. In truth, it will sell data to anyone who can afford to buy it. Last year, Acxiom posted a profit of $77.26 million on sales of $1.13 billion.
It's worth a read, so head over to the Times to check out the full article. [New York Times]