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How to protect yourself from data mining

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- President Trump recently expressed his intention to ban Chinese-owned apps, like TikTok and WeChat, from the United States in order to protect Americans from data mining. But how serious is data mining, and what are some ways you can protect yourself from it?

Data mining involves the collection, storage and processing of large sets of data in order to spot patterns. Once identified, these patterns can be used by companies to better understand trends in purchasing behavior, help banks detect fraudulent credit card transactions or even aid in the detection of money laundering or other criminal activities.

However, some argue that the use of data mining is an invasion of customer privacy. Personal information, like social security numbers, may become vulnerable to hacking, identity theft, or other unethical behaviors.

Justin Patchin, an expert in social networking with UW-Eau Claire, said data mining is virtually unavoidable.

"Any website you use, any game you play, social media app, particularly if it's free, you're giving up your information by utilizing that platform," Patchin said.

Patchin said the best way to avoid social media data mining is to avoid social media altogether. Still, other businesses will have your information in one form or another.

When it comes to TikTok, Patchin said users can limit their data sharing by simply viewing videos, rather than posting.

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Madeline Fuerstenberg

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