14 Real-Life Examples of Personal Data You Definitely Want To Keep Private (Plus, How to Do It)

Apple’s new ‘Over sharing’ ads have everyone thinking about the type of private information we freely share on our devices and the shocking reality of it being publicly exposed. 

The scenes are intentionally cringeworthy and ridiculously ‘TMI’. There are people loud-hailing their credit card information, telling strangers their logins, announcing purchases of pregnancy tests and searches for divorce attorneys, and discussing their dislike for colleagues.  

But it’s exactly what most of us do on our devices, every day. We share personal information online that we would never share in a public arena, like a bus, restaurant, park or office. We give complete strangers online our most intimate details but would never announce them to complete strangers in ‘real life’ offline. But the risks of embarrassment, danger, and financial loss from sharing personal information are all there, whether we share them online or off.  

Let’s look closer at these 14 examples of personal data you’d definitely want to keep private:

Name—full name, maiden name, mother‘s maiden name, or alias

Personal identification numbers—social security number (SSN), passport number, driver’s license number, taxpayer identification number, patient identification number, and financial account or credit card number

Home address—where you live (even with whom you live)

Location information, including IP address, geographic coordinates or proximity to landmarks and other devices 

Telephone numbers, including mobile, business, and personal numbers

Personal characteristics, including photographic image (especially of face or other distinguishing characteristic), x-rays, fingerprints, or other biometric image or template data (e.g., retina scan, voice signature, facial geometry)

Information identifying personally owned property, such as vehicle registration number or title number and related information

Asset information, such as MAC address or other device-specific persistent static identifier 

Information about you that is linked or linkable to one of the above (e.g. date of birth, place of birth, race, religion, weight, activities, geographical indicators, employment information, medical information, education information, financial information)

On top of that list from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, think about:

Login details—usernames and passwords (people all too frequently re-use the same ones) 

Personal opinions—about anything and everything, no matter where you put them—on social media, in chatrooms, in standard text messages, in comments sections of news sites

Information about private crises and events—divorce, custody battles, medical diagnoses, mental health issues, and addiction battles, for example

Criminal records and misdemeanours—even that 20-year old speeding fine

All medical and health topics including conditions, products and your suitability for clinical trials or focus groups

Every single purchase you make, especially purchases of medical and health equipment like pregnancy tests or birth control pills, remote medical monitoring devices etc., as well as travel tickets, books, and so on.

So why do we share this information?

The Internet’s design has forced us into giving away too much personal information in exchange for access to sites and services. 

The big problem with the Internet today is identity management. When the original Internet was introduced, identity was never a major consideration beyond simple user authentication with username and password, and each site did things their own way. As the worldwide web emerged and the application ecosystem grew, services were offered as ‘free’ to users and monetized through advertising. Data became the currency of service providers and data collection became the business goal. 

Here’s how it looks to you: You want to access a web site so you can buy or use its products or services. You create an online account with that site, and you give your name, email address and sometimes your phone number. If you’re like most people, you use this same set of identifying information every time you set up an account or buy goods and services online. You get the product, but you also create a data trail that leads directly to you and your personal identity, and makes it incredibly easy for companies to spam you and criminals to scam you. 

Data brokers are constantly creating detailed profiles of you from your digital exhaust (which includes your name, phone number and email address, your credit card number, your billing and shipping address, the products you purchased, the services you signed up for, the social media posts you made, what you liked and shared, the sites you browsed, and the search terms you entered) and selling it to companies so they can tailor advertising to you. Data broking is a USD 200 billion, largely unregulated industry. Indeed, companies are doing it themselves too—turning our data into their asset in a multi-trillion dollar activity known as surveillance capitalism—the ‘business model of the digital world’. 

But it’s not only spam you’re exposed to (as annoying as those ads and pop-ups can be); it’s criminal activity. Criminals can access your data trail just as easily as marketers, and they use it to steal your identity and your money. Worldwide payment card fraud losses will exceed $35 billion in 2023 and a fraudulent credit card use occurred in the US every 3.5 minutes in 2018. 

To avoid the risks to your privacy and safety of sharing personal information online, you need to break the data trail and you do it easily using MySudo, the world’s only all-in-one privacy solution. 

With MySudo, there’s no data trail, because you’re using Sudos (a secure, customizable digital identity or ‘profile’ that intentionally differentiates from your personal identity and protects your personal data). You assign each of your Sudos (you can have up to nine) a real working phone numberemail, and virtual card for online purchases, plus you get a dedicated private browser for searching completely ad and tracker free.

You give each of your Sudo profiles a purpose, like shopping online, selling second-hand goods, or booking local services. Then every time you talk, text, email or pay, you use your Sudo profile information instead of your personal information. Your own personal details are secure since you haven’t shared them—we won’t even ask for a username or password to set up the app. 

Sudos in MySudo allow you to:

  • Search the internet without ads and pop-ups using the private browser.
  • Pay online with your virtual card without worrying about tracking or hacking. 
  • Call, text, and email anyone without giving up your private details. 
  • Get end-to-end encrypted talk, text and email with other MySudo users.

Sudo have heaps of privacy and safety benefits

  • Sudos powerfully protect your personal information and they make compartmentalization (or siloing and protecting) your personal data easy.
  • Sudos are entirely private to the user.
  • Sudos are built with market-leading, strong privacy and security features.
  • They shield your digital exhaust from trackers and hackers. Indeed, Sudos stop the data tracking, known as surveillance capitalism, which is the wheelhouse of modern marketing.
  • Sudos are a great way to organize your life (e.g. separate work from social, or family and friends from new contacts).
  • Sudos give you a secure, private alternative to logging in with Facebook or Google or using any other social login option (never a good idea).
  • Sudos can give you a second chance at privacy when your personal phone number and email address are already compromised or you suspect they might be.
  • Sudos help you to stay agile and resilient to avoid data breaches and data abuse.
  • They’re a great place to start on proactively protecting your data privacy.  
  • Sudos really act as a stunt double for you and your highly sensitive and valuable personal information.
  • Sudos are purpose-driven, so they can be short-lived or long-lived. 

Through its new ads, Apple has shown the world why data privacy matters. Here at Anonyome Labs, we give you the app that fixes the problem. Download MySudo for iOS or Android.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash