Mobile

An animated explanation of how your personal data gets tracked and sold

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Keeping up with our theme from yesterday’s post about how frictionless it has become for users to give unfamiliar apps broad and permanent access to their data, we stumbled on this interesting video about the personal information people unwittingly share with their mobile phone carriers.

The video comes from Michael Ringley, a graphic designer living in San Francisco. It tracks the life of an MMS message, 28,000 of which are sent every second, and shows how the average user will have 736 pieces of personal data collected every day. That includes details like your number, who you’re calling, the location, date and time, the duration, and the amount of data transmitted.

Different service providers retain this data for different durations. Verizon holds onto it for twelve months, for example, while AT&T keeps it for a staggering 84 months. Ringley points out that most people will have more than a million pieces of information stored by their providers spanning across an average of nearly four years.

Looking through the glass darkly, Ringley points out this makes customers unwitting participants in a vast case, with their data being sold to the highest bidder, most often to ad networks who can serve targeted ads. Check out the full video below.

h/t Brianpicker

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