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28 ways companies and governments can collect your personal data and invade your privacy every day

Win McNamee/Getty

In modern life, privacy is no longer a given - people are being tracked on their daily commute, at work, online, and when they're shopping.



That's because data is valuable. In 2018, American companies spent an estimated $19 billion attaining and interpreting consumer data.



Data is a commodity to be sold for advertising, used by government agencies to stop crimes, or for companies to increase workplace productivity. Almost nothing is private anymore.



Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's devilishly difficult to keep anything private anymore. As Wired pointed out, data is this century's oil. Just as oil made corporations rich in the 20th Century, personal data is now making companies billions. And that comes at the cost of people's privacy. In modern life, privacy is relinquished in so many ways - from your daily commute, to how productive you are at work, to what you search on Google, to what you buy in a store. Almost nothing is truly private anymore. But the concept is still important. As columnist Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things - the innards of your head and heart, the workings of your mind - and the boundary between those things and the world outside." The New York Times' "Privacy Project" looked into all the different ways people are losing their privacy. It's a thorough, often bewildering examination. Here are some of the ways companies and the government are invading your privacy every day.
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