No one likes when their email address privacy is breached, but it happens more than you might expect. Worst of all, most times, you’ve agreed to it.
Specifically focusing on email address privacy, here’s what you can look for to better understand what companies are doing with your information. If you do a search on the policy for “third parties” and/or “share,” look for something like this:
- “We do not share your information with third parties.”
- “We will never sell, share, or rent your information with third parties.”
Unless they are lying, it can’t get more straightforward than that. There are some exceptions, however. Companies often list a few different ways they have to share data with some third parties: if they are legally required to do so by law, if they use vendors such as Oracle Dyn to send out emails, and if they get bought and have to transfer the data in a sale.
Unfortunately, they do also have the right to share or sell your data. They just need to tell you about it, and then they leave it up to you to decide what you want to do (if you ever bother to read the policy to begin with).
If you see something like, “We share data with our affiliates and third parties who offer services we think you might be interested in,” that’s a red flag. Think of the most important person in your life and whether you’d want them deciding what emails you receive from other companies. I’m guessing not. However, you want someone you’ll never meet deciding who gets to have your email address? No thanks.
But if you’re curious about how Company X managed to collect your email address if you have never heard of them, you likely opted in for that at some point without even realizing it.