How can my personal information be used (Kassem)

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Myriam Ugh, another advertisement for something I want is appearing on my Facebook! They always know the type of item I want to buy.

Annette Myriam, how could they know what you want to buy! It is not like they are here talking to you about it!

Myriam They use my information Annette.

Annette Information? What do you mean, information?

Myriam Well most websites and apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, or Youtube are tracking your activities on the internet, which creates information about what you do.

Annette Really! That sounds a bit concerning, so that is how Facebook knows what you want to buy?

Myriam Sure, I was just looking at some new products for my shop online, and now Facebook is showing me advertising for those very products.

Annette Wow! That would make me a bit nervous.

Myriam I understand that. I think of it as the price I pay for accessing these services. Some companies even let me use their apps without having to spend any of my data bundle, but they are able to do that because they are gathering information about me. I know they even may sell my information to other companies. Mobile money companies also collect information on all your transactions.

Annette Wow, I had no idea they keep that information.

Myriam Yes, but having your information collected doesn't have to be all that bad. If you educate yourself about what information is being tracked, sometimes it can be an advantage.

Annette Interesting, but why would the mobile money company knowing how much I am spending on airtime be an advantage?

Myriam Well, I was able to receive a small loan from the mobile money menu based on my transaction history and savings record, since I pay my utility bills through mobile money and also opened a savings account to earn interest. Based on that information I was able to get a loan that helped me to open my shop.

Annette Oh wow, really? That is interesting.

Myriam And while advertising can be annoying, I don't have to buy everything they put on my Facebook! I have self control!

Annette That is true, how can I find out more about who is using my information and how?

Myriam Well for you, its usually just information that the telco can see, like what airtime you are buying. Mobile network operators should be limiting the information they collect from you to what they need for their business or ask your permission to share it with others. With my smartphone, I have to check each app I download. There are settings in my phone that allow me to stop some apps from collecting information if I do not want them to - including tracking my location.

Annette I see. I am going to call customer service and ask my mobile network operator what else they can tell me about how they collect and use my information.

Myriam That is a good idea. You can always use my smartphone to read more if you like. Look at this, another advertisement for something I was considering buying.

Annette Are you going to buy it?

Myriam Not today! See, just because it is there, doesn't mean I have to buy it!

Annette Haha, well done on your self control Myriam!