Alice E. Marwick is an Assistant Professor at Fordham and an academic affiliate at the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School. She is the author of Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age. (January 2014)
Using techniques ranging from supermarket loyalty cards to targeted advertising on Facebook, private companies systematically collect very personal information, from who you are, to what you do, to what you buy. Data about your online and offline behavior are combined, analyzed, and sold to marketers, corporations, governments, and even criminals. The scope of this collection, aggregation, and brokering of information is similar to, if not larger than, that of the NSA, yet it is almost entirely unregulated and many of the activities of data-mining and digital marketing firms are not publicly known at all.