News & Politics

7 Places PayPal Sends Your Personal Financial Info That You Probably Don't Want It to Go

Their 'privacy policy 'sends your information to eBay, credit bureaus and law enforcement.

Photo Credit: WochitTech; Screenshot / YouTube.com

Big data is big money.

And pretty everything you do online these days is tracked, catalogued and sold by big corporations looking to make a buck on your information.

Case in point: PayPal.

On Sunday the company, which prides itself on giving people a secure way to buy things online, sent all its customers an email pointing out its new privacy policies.

Wolf Richter over at Naked Capitalism has done us a favor and read through all these policies and found that PayPal sends tons of your personal information — including financial data, web preferences, and your physical location — to a bunch of places you probably wouldn’t want it to go.

The places PayPal sends your personal information to include:

  • eBay and its affiliates;
  • Service providers under contract who help with [PayPal’s] business operations;
  • Financial institutions with which PayPal partners;
  • Credit bureaus and collection agencies;
  • Banking partners;
  • Companies that PayPal plans to merge with or are acquired by; and
  • Law enforcement, government officials, or other third parties pursuant to a subpoena

Your data isn’t really yours after all.

Of course, PayPal isn’t the only company taking your personal information.

Google, Amazon — they all do it.

And they’re not always sneaky about it, either.

Google has actually publicly asked the Supreme Court to legalize its practice of using Street View mapping cars to steal data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.

Some people don’t worry about the kind of corporate snooping done by companies like Google and PayPal.

After all, it’s not as though Google and PayPal can kill you.

But our government actually does have the power of guns and jail cells — and more and more they're ending up with this data.

And at the same time — as private contractor corporations increasingly take on the role of the government — the line between supposedly safe corporate spying and dangerous government spying starts to blur.

By some estimates, 70 percent of the NSA’s budget goes to private contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton, once owned in part by the Carlyle Group, once owned in part by the Bin Laden family, and the former employer of Edward Snowden.

Meanwhile, Amazon recently cut a multi-million dollar cloud computing contract with the CIA, and their CEO now owns the Washington Post.

And — thanks to Edward Snowden — we now know that Microsoft helped the NSA find a backdoor into its Outlook email program so that the intelligence agency could snoop on Outlook users’ web chats.

So what happens when governments and corporations become one?

Benito Mussolini invented a word for that — he called it "fascism."

And now we have billionaires like the Koch Brothers whining on the op-ed pages of our nation's newspapers that their attempts to get corporate-friendly Republicans elected are being unfairly attacked. In reality, democracy itself is now under attack.

The idea that turning a nation's economy over to "free market" corporatists is idiotic isn't new. Thomas Jefferson laid it out in an 1816 letter to Samuel Kerchival.

"Those seeking profits," Jefferson wrote, "were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government. No other depositories of power have ever yet been found, which did not end in converting to their own profit the earnings of those committed to their charge."

He added: "I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom. ... We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. ... [Otherwise], as the people of England are, our people, like them, must come to labor sixteen hours in the twenty-four ... and the sixteenth being insufficient to afford us bread, we must live, as they now do, on oatmeal and potatoes; have no time to think, no means of calling the mismanagers to account; but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow sufferers."

A totally "free" market where corporations reign supreme, just like the oppressive governments of old, Jefferson said could transform America " ... until the bulk of the society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery, to have no sensibilities left but for sinning and suffering. Then begins, indeed, the bellum omnium in omnia, which some philosophers observing to be so general in this world, have mistaken it for the natural, instead of the abusive state of man."

Progressive taxation, too, has a long history: As Jefferson said in a 1785 letter to James Madison, "Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise."

It's time to use that tool, and roll back the wealth and power of these billionaires.

And, with this, slow down our headlong plunge toward the corporate state, the all-knowing corporation leveraging the incredible power of the state to both stifle dissent and enforce conformity.

Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and author of over 25 books in print

 

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