What’s wrong with this picture: While the Internet has monetized personal data, consumers have been told their identity information has no value.

Bad Privacy Blog by Claudiu Popa
2 min readJul 14, 2023

Ever wonder how advertisers see you as you surf the Web? Here are some examples of actual labels automatically affixed to Internet users:
> “Defund Police Persuadables”
> “Attitude: I generally get a raw deal out of life”
> “Money driven”
> “Affluent Ethnic Couples”
> “Heavy buyer of condoms”
> “Tech addict”
> “Menstrual cramps”
> “Elite Jewish urbanites”

What’s the harm?
As we spray #personalinformation across the interwebs, such invasive labels permanently brand us with indicators of interest to particular list buyers, be they proverbial sellers of white shirts or the sinister actuaries behind calculated insurance policies.

Click to read the referenced article: From “Heavy Purchasers” of Pregnancy Tests to the Depression-Prone: We Found 650,000 Ways Advertisers Label You — The Markup

So next time you say you don’t need to use an ad-blocker or filter javascript or use a privacy-enhancing browser because after all, you’ve done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide…. think instead about the #privacy harms caused by emboldening #databrokers to help themselves to everyone’s intimate details with shameless impunity.

Claudiu Popa is a book collector, author and the co-founder of the Knowledgeflow Foundation, a nonprofit organization that empowers communities to weaponize digital literacy and critical thinking against disinformation. He is also the CEO of Datarisk Canada, one of the first information security companies focused on the protection of intangible assets.



Bad Privacy Blog by Claudiu Popa

Fīat jūstitia, ruat cælum. Personal musings on data protection fails, snafus & oddities, written & edited by Claudiu Popa; author, educator, booknerd.