Privacy Is Getting Harder To Protect

Privacy Is Getting Harder To Protect

The right to privacy may seem like something that shouldn’t be given up. However, the sharing of personal data is sometimes required to get lower prices. In many cases, the choice isn’t whether to pay or give up privacy, it’s whether to give up privacy in order to use the product or not use it at all.

It’s becoming harder to protect one’s privacy, and sometimes we don’t even realize it’s being used. You should know that the websites you visit are recorded through cookies. You begrudgingly accept that popup in order to use the site (and perhaps opt-out when possible). If there are targeted ads, you at least might know where they came from.

What about our other everyday use products, ones that had a lot of boilerplate terms and conditions you might not have paid a whole lot of attention too?

One product you might not have expected getting in on the data usage game is your smart television. Through ACR, or Automatic Content Recognition, it’s able to create a profile of you, based on what you’re watching, to sell to data brokers. Some consumers may consider it a benefit to see ads better targeted to them, and to have their TVs able to suggest content that is more suited to their profile, but others may prefer their privacy. Consumer Reports put together a report on how to turn off this “feature” on most major brands, though it takes going through many menus and doesn’t always look easy to do.

Even major car companies have joined the ranks of those collecting and sharing your data among others, so it’s really becoming harder and harder to live a private life in the modern age. Some of the data collection may be used for the consumer’s benefit, helping to design a safer, better car for tomorrow. The New York Times even reported last month that this data may be sold to insurance companies that will raise your rates based on speeding or making turns too sharply, even if you don’t have any accidents on record. Regardless of whether the intentions of the car companies are sound (being able to make safer cars or sell the cars at a lower price since they are now making some of their money from data), it’s still yet another point where consumer data is at risk and major car companies have already had data breaches.

When it comes to estate planning, there is financial privacy to consider with the transition of assets as well. If you have a will, you’re already ahead of most Americans, but that will becomes public knowledge when it goes through probate. Although a will could make probate faster, it doesn’t protect the financial privacy of the family. On the other hand, in the majority of cases when a trust is utilized the finances are not made public record.

An extra benefit – When it’s known that a family has a high net worth, they are often approached for making donations of one sort or another. If they have a trust, they have a convenient response in this situation—“Our trustee handles those inquiries.” The family wealth is managed in a collection of trusts, which allows them to deflect uncomfortable questions. What’s more, the trusts keep all the details of the family wealth structure private, out of the public eye.

When it is more difficult to protect one’s privacy, it is worth the time and effort to do so. If you prize financial privacy and wish to preserve it for your family, consider a trust-based wealth management plan. The Trust Officers at Garden State Trust Company would be pleased to share more information with you.