Top 4 Actions Las Vegas Residents Can Take to Protect Yourself from ‘Weblining’

Note to Las Vegas citizens:  On February 4, 2012, the New York Times published an article on Facebook’s approaching initial public offering, the moment it offers to sells its own stock to the public instead of leaving it in the hands of its founder, Mark Zuckerburg, and other investors. Titled, “Facebook is Using You,” the article focuses on Facebook’s largest asset, the private information its users freely tell the corporation through its social networking Web site and how it intends to profit from selling its users advertisements.

Although the idea is innocuous, user information gathered on the Internet can be used against them when they apply for jobs, loans, or insurance. The new term is “Weblining,” which refers to “redlining,” the use of demographic data in a particular area (including race) by banks to deny people access to credit. Banks used to draw red lines on maps to define the regions in which they would refuse to extend credit lines based on previous experience of borrowers in that region. Weblining removes the geographic element, but there are some things you can do about it to prevent adverse action on the part of employers and lenders.

  1. Use your intuition (because data aggregators won’t). Although you can challenge false information in a credit report, you can do no such thing for data aggregators. Thus, if you intend to do research on a sensitive topic, try doing it at a public library, provide it isn’t so sensitive as to interfere with other patrons’ use of the facilities.
  2. Similarly, use an IP address anonymizer to mask your location. This fools companies into thinking your searches are occurring from a location other than where you physically are.
  3. Install cookie and bug blockers to prevent Web sites from placing tags, bugs, cookies, pixels, trackers, and beacons on your browser. This is how Internet companies track your search preferences, and it’s what other companies pay top dollar to purchase.
  4. Abstain. If you don’t need certain social networking applications, don’t use them. Selective abstention can also be a good idea in certain circumstances. For instance, if you are applying for jobs after a hiatus, suspending an online profile will make it impossible for employers to find out information about you through that method. This same goes for filing divorce or bankruptcy.

There’s no law that prevents a bank from unilaterally reducing your access to credit if you spend money at stores whose customers have high default rates. It’s also a true pain if bankruptcy creditors or the Trustee claims that you have more assets than you listed on your petition. For these reasons, protecting your privacy on the Internet are important, and it’s another reason to make sure you hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney when times are hard.

For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.

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