Why should I tell third parties, otherwise known data brokers, to stop selling my data?
You should tell data brokers to stop collecting and using your personal data, because they sell it to hundreds of companies who use it to send you unwanted marketing. The data they collect and pass on is also typically very detailed, which many people feel is invasive.
When you don't control what data brokers share, thousands of companies can buy your data and share it again themselves. This leads to large amounts of unwanted marketing, and leaves you vulnerable to scams if any of those companies suffer data leaks.
Through Rightly, you can use your data rights to stop data brokers using your data now and protect yourself going forwards. Afterwards, we'd also recommend signing up to the Telephone and Mail Preference services, too.
What is a data broker?
A data broker is a company that acquires and sells personal information about you. They can collect this data through a range of sources:
- Their own websites, like surveys sites, where you may not realise what's going to happen with your data after using them
- Buying the data from other companies willing to sell it, such as credit card companies
- Crawling the internet to find other information about you
- Combining this data with data from offline and other sources, such as the electoral register or inferred data based on your postcode
They don't sell this information as individual bits of information, but rather as part of a data 'profile' of you as a person. This information is highly valuable, because it allows companies to market to you and target you more invasively.
Personal data is any information that can directly or indirectly identify you as you. Think address, beliefs, and financial records.
What types of data do data brokers buy and sell?
Data brokers buy and sell personal and inferred data, like your relationship status, financial data, and causes you might volunteer for. These are collected and repackaged as part of a valuable data profile to be sold to others. For many, this feels like an invasion of privacy.
Personal data that data brokers might store:
- Name and date of birth
- Tastes and habits
- Contact details
- Economic, social and cultural information
- House price data
- Family details
- Previous addresses
Many data brokers also infer information about you from what they already know. For example, some data brokers record and sell your likelihood of getting certain health conditions, how many children you might have and your estimated salary.
Crucially, because this data is so sensitive and is being shared with thousands of companies, if any of them suffered a data leak it could lead to sophisticated hacks, scams and spam.
How do I tell data brokers to stop selling my personal data?
The easiest way to stop data brokers using your information is by sending a request through Rightly. The request uses your legal right to object to your information being processed for direct marketing. This right is thanks to GDPR, and means that data brokers must reply within one month confirming that they've carried out your request.
If any of the data brokers don't already have your data, we'll ask them to add you to their suppression list to make sure they can't ever buy or sell your data.
Our service enables you to send requests to all data brokers registered with the UK Data and Marketing Association and additional ones we've found in our own research in one go, for free. After you've done this, you should also sign up to the Telephone and Mail preference services. You can read more about this below.
Please note that data brokers will need some identifying information to make sure that they're speaking to the right person and to add you to their do not contact and suppression lists. You can choose how much to add to your request by picking from our two options: Rightly Assisted and Submit Only.
To send your requests, simply:
- Press 'Start Now' above
- Add and verify your details
- Send your request to all data brokers in one click
What's the difference between an Assisted and a Submit Only request?
Through Rightly, you have the option of sending an ‘Assisted’ request or a ‘Submit Only’ request. Both enable you to send requests to multiple companies at once, but differ in how much additional information they require.
Submit Only requests simply connects you to all of the companies you select, they’ll take it from there and link you to their own forms and processes for you to fill out. Only your name and email address is required to send these requests, but companies will likely ask you for much more information to identify you, like your ID.
Assisted requests allow you to skip the beginning stages of company forms and processes, rather than having to provide the same information over and over again. By uploading and verifying your ID and other identifying information once with Rightly, you can cut out a lot of back and forth with each company later. Companies will require all of this information but may ask you a few additional questions. For example, an insurance company may ask for your policy number.
If you have any questions, our friendly support team is here to help.
How long until data brokers respond to my request?
After the broker has received your request, they have to reply in full within one month, or give a valid reason for asking for an extension. However, we're glad to say that most companies normally reply within a week.
Your responses from companies are likely to come directly into your inbox. We don't mind when this happens, as long as you're happy with how your request has been handled and have everything you need.
If you have any questions, or have any difficulty at all with how companies respond, our friendly support team is here to help!
What if they refuse to stop using my personal data?
Don't worry, although some companies may push back, they have to stop using your data if you ask them to by law. This is thanks to your ‘right to object’ under GDPR, a law that applies in the UK and EU.
Some of our community have experienced unfair pushback from data brokers who claim that they're exempt, or claim that you can't contact them via a third party. If this happens, we're here to support you every step of the way. This includes nudging them in the right direction - just get in touch.
What if I’ve said they can use it in the past?
If you agreed to an organisation using your data but you’ve changed your mind, don’t worry! You can still tell them to stop processing your data going forwards. Remember, your data rights allow you to change your mind about how your data is being handled at any time. This means that you can tell any company that you no longer want them to use your data. Our mission is to make managing your online information simple. To learn more, check out our blog.
What if I’m not sure if they have my data?
If you're not sure whether or not they have your data, you can still ask them. Even if they tell you they don’t have it, you're making yourself safer online by knowing where your data is. Plus, the request asks them to add you to their suppression list, meaning that they can't sell your data even if they collect it in future.
Is registering with the Telephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Service helpful?
Although they only deal with texts, calls and physical mail rather than email communications, we definitely recommend registering with both. Legitimate companies look at both the Telephone Preference Service and the Mail Preference service frequently to identify who has asked not to receive direct marketing through these channels. While it may take some time to see a reduction in unwanted marketing, it is worthwhile in case there are brokers who have your data but aren't on our list.
We’re free because our mission is to make online personal data management easy for everyone.
We don't use consumer data for commercial purposes, which means we'll never, ever sell your data. It also means that there are no adverts or hidden costs.
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