What Big Data knows about you — and how to keep your info safe

“Good evening everyone. Thanks for coming over for dinner! I’d like to introduce my friend Joe.

“He’s a Mets fan, drinks a little too much Miller Beer, is an inconsistent libertarian, and has been known to spend his evenings checking out his female coworkers’ Facebook pages. Joe has high blood pressure and some disturbing PSA levels that just might indicate a prostate problem.

“And here’s Carla. She likes HBO – a lot – drives a Chevy but dreams of an Audi, gets all her makeup from the discount counter at CVS, and is a secret smoker. She has a condo, waaay underwater, and visits a guy two buildings over in her complex rather late in the evening once or twice a week.

“And over here is Jack, who had a DWI last year and subscribes to HGTV magazine … “

Well, that would be some dinner party, wouldn’t it? I have a feeling a round of introductions like that would get things off on a bad foot.

But let’s face it: All of that information – about Joe and Carla, me and you – is out there for the taking. Facebook is collecting information on what you look at, the better to target you for advertisers. Google is collecting your search history and your Internet provider has logs of your online travels.

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