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8 Sneaky Ways Companies Collect Your Data

23 Mayıs 2023

With the advancement of data acquisition and analysis technologies, businesses can gain new insights and contextualize their data more effectively. Businesses capture, store, and analyze vast quantities of quantitative and qualitative consumer data by using consumer behavior and predictive analytics. Some businesses have constructed their entire business model around consumer data, whether they sell confidential information to third parties or create targeted advertisements to promote their products and services.

The following are some methods companies use to collect consumer data, what they do with that data, and how you can apply the same strategies to your business.

Types of Consumer Data Collected by Businesses

The consumer data collected by enterprises fall into four categories:

Most of the time, you are unaware that your information is being collected. Location, activity, patterns, preferences, demographics, and a variety of other details about you are collected daily.

How Companies Collect Your Data in Sneaky Ways

Let's examine some of the most creative methods companies are using to collect data and enhance your experience and their business:


We have all come across this term in our browser settings, but why is it important? By using cookies, businesses can monitor visitor traffic, distinguish between a single visit and multiple page views, personalize landing pages, and keep users logged in. This implies that you can credit cookies for preventing you from having to reset your password daily. Some antivirus software may include features that can help block or manage cookies to enhance your online privacy and security.

Microphone and Camera Access

Some apps request access to your device's microphone and camera. This can be used to collect audio and video data, which can be used to build a profile of your interests and activities. For example, an app may use your camera to track how long you look at certain content or how you interact with certain features. This information can be used to further tailor advertising and marketing efforts to your preferences and behaviors.

License Plates

The mass collection of images of license plates is just one of the many legal means by which entities compile data on individuals. The information, including the number plate number and the location where the photograph was taken, is then resold to global information brokerage firms. The same companies that provide credit checks and identity protection also sell license plate scans that reveal where you've been as well as information about what you own, where you reside, and who you know.

In-Store WiFi Activation

Companies that offer free WiFi can not only collect information from your social media profile or email address but also monitor your online activity within the store. With this information on your WiFi activity, they could determine if you visited Amazon or other websites within their store to evaluate your purchase decisions and determine what you might be able to purchase based on your profile. Moreover, for users who want to protect their online privacy, using a trustworthy VPN on your device can help protect their online activity from being monitored by the company providing the WiFi.

Credit or Membership Cards

This is one of the simplest ways to obtain user information and accurately monitor individual purchasing patterns. Over time, your data will reveal the preferences of individual consumers, the types of promotions they are likely to respond to, and their preferred shopping days. Creating such a detailed consumer profile will facilitate the customization of marketing messages for in-store and other channels, such as email.

Social-Media Participation

This one is the most apparent and ties the others together almost entirely. A social media account is now easily linked to all other methods of logging in, and the simplest way to achieve this is to create a customer identifier that can be tied to all other behaviors. Social media marketing on Facebook, Instagram, etc. is also the simplest method to precisely target the audience you desire without analyzing each individual user.

IOT Sensors

We are all aware that vehicles, aircraft, computers, etc., contain trackers and sensors that continuously transmit data to various locations. This information is primarily used to not only improve the performance of your device but also to comprehend your interactions with it and generate personalized offers that may compel you to purchase something from them or resolve certain issues.

Email Tracking

Email tracking is a technique that allows companies to monitor the behavior of email recipients. It involves adding a small, invisible image or pixel to the email that tracks when and where the email is opened. When you open an email with tracking enabled, the pixel sends a signal back to the company's server, letting them know that you've opened the email.

Email tracking can also reveal information about your device, including the type of device, its operating system, and the IP address associated with the device. This data can be used to build a profile of your interests and activities, which can then be used for targeted advertising or other purposes.

Facial-Recognition Cameras

Facial recognition is one of those data collection techniques that straddles the line between privacy intrusion and consumer targeting, but companies continue to use it. Large retailers now use intelligent technology to instantly recognize consumers and target offers based on their purchasing preferences, as well as to capture shoplifters.


Businesses are collecting vast quantities of data on their consumers using a variety of methods. This data includes personal information, engagement data, behavioral data, and attitudinal data. While some of these collection methods may seem sneaky or intrusive, they ultimately help enhance customer experiences and allow for more targeted marketing strategies.

From cookies and GPS monitoring to social media participation and facial recognition cameras, businesses have a wealth of information at their disposal to better understand their consumers and tailor their products and services to meet their needs. As data acquisition and analysis technologies continue to evolve, businesses must prioritize transparency and the ethical use of consumer data to build and maintain trust with their customers.