Ninety per cent of the world’s data was created in the last two years, and over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day

Whole companies are built around principle of relentlessly collecting as much data about internet users as possible, and monetising it. Our digital selves are now marketable products. And this data is then used to market products to us. In 2018, almost half of all advertising spend will be online, rising to over 50% by 2020. And two digital giants – Facebook and Google – now control 84% of the market. The companies are hugely reliant on ad revenue, with Facebook collecting 97% of their overall revenue from ad spending while at Google it accounts for 88%.

When someone clicks a link to a webpage, between their clicking and the page loading, information about them is compiled and sent out in order for advertisers to assess the value of showing them an advert. These are called ​‘bid requests’, and they totally fail to ensure the protection of personal data against unauthorised access. They can even include sensitive information such as a person’s sexuality, or political beliefs. Bid requests on UK users are being sent out at a rate of almost 10 billion per day, or 164 per person per day, and are seen by hundreds if not thousands of advertisers.

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