February 7th — Mozilla has recently launched a new paid service that automatically monitors data and removes people’s private info from the web. The service is known as Mozilla Monitor Plus, and is an extension of the Mozilla Monitor (formerly Firefox Monitor) service, which provides information around email address compromises.
Mozilla Monitor Plus
The new data service aims to ensure that users’ personal information stays off of nearly 200 different data broker sites. According to Mozilla, that’s roughly double the number of data brokers that its competitors monitor. Data breach alerts will be delivered to users when their is compromised or leaked through a cyber security incident.
Mozilla’s new service costs $107.88 per year, which breaks down to just under $10.00 per month.
Exploitative data solicitation
Many argue that if you didn’t sell your data initially, it should be illegal for data brokers, and by extension, data removal services, to profit from it.
Data brokers generate substantial profits from stolen data, often amounting to millions or billions of dollars. Subsequently, services offering data monitoring and removal implicitly support this theft, as they’re selling consumers a service to address it.
The contention is that if your data is valuable enough for businesses to offer removal services, you should have been compensated for its use in the first place.
Data broker and service provider regulations
Mozilla likely wouldn’t be able to sell this service in the European Union due to GDPR laws that prevent companies, such as data brokers, from buying and selling individuals’ personal information without user consent. The service simply wouldn’t be all that relevant.
However, in the United States, at this point in time, no laws fully regulate businesses that collect and share consumers’ personal information. The United States is perhaps gradually working towards providing consumers with greater control over their data.
In June of 2023, a group of U.S. legislators introduced the DELETE Act, which would establish a means through which individuals could request for all data brokers and similar companies to ‘cease and desist’ vacuuming up, trading and selling personal data for commercial use. The law would also force companies to promise not to re-collect the data in the future.
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