Many readers know that it would be a cold day in H-E-Double Hockey Sticks (Go Bruins!) that I have in the past or ever in the future will take an online quiz. Why on earth would anyone do that? What is the benefit to you of participating in a seemingly innocuous quiz about yourself and your past?
This week, Facebook, still reeling from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, suspended data analytics firm CubeYou from its platform after CNBC notified it that CubeYou was collecting information about users through quizzes.
CubeYou says its quizzes are for “non-profit academic research,” but is reportedly selling the information gathered from the quizzes with marketers. Gee, sounds just like the Cambridge Analytica mess. According to the CubeYou website, it says it has access to personally identifiable information of individuals, including first and last names, email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, mobile IDs, browser fingerprints, age, gender, location, work and education, family and relationship information. It uses this information, taken from Facebook and Twitter ,to contract with advertising agencies to target you. It is concerning that they have all of this information for advertising, and my question is: who else are they disclosing your information to and how long are they keeping it? Forever? That is disconcerting.
Having control of your information and determining who can have access to it is a fundamental right to privacy. When you agree to take these online quizzes asking personal questions about you, are you aware that the sole purpose is to gain more information about you for advertising purposes? What is in it for you?
Not only that, there are scammers who are targeting individuals to get answers to questions that may be used for authentication purposes, like the name of your first pet, what was your first car, your favorite movie and how long you have been married. Any of the answers to these questions could be clues or the key to authentication questions for your bank account, used in obtaining a loan, or on another online platform that seeks authentication.
The privacy tip of the week is to consider whether taking these online quizzes and giving your information to advertisers and fraudster is beneficial to you. Before you agree to take one, think about why you want to share this information, how it could be used with the thousands of other data points about you that are on the Internet and why you are allowing others to monetize your information. It’s your information. Take control of it.