In the wake of the controversy about the NSA’s snooping tactics by Edward Snowden, we’ve begun to realize just how little privacy we have online. There’s profit to be had from data you normally want unseen. But if you’re up for it, you can get something back for all the privacy you’re losing, courtesy of San Diego-based company Luth Research.
Luth Research offers other companies a closer look at the online habits of tens of thousands of people, all of which must consent to it, reports MIT Technology Review. In exchange for up to $100 per month, The company’s “ZQ Intelligences” services collects and analyzes data from consenting parties’ tablets, smartphones, and PCs. More specifically, the research firm is interested in your location, website viewing habits, search entries, and time spent on social networks. Participants are also asked questions about their online behavior.
Luth Research does draw the line in certain places, however. For example, it does not read through personal messages and any data collected from your device is sent through a secure private network. However, the company plans to throw in audio listening, though it didn’t say when exactly such a feature would be implemented.
Luth Research’s current and former clients include Subway, Microsoft, Walmart, the San Diego Padres, Nickelodeon, and Netflix. All these companies want to better spend their advertising dollars in an effort to increase the average click-through rate for online ads, which currently stands at .01 percent.
With 20,000 PC users and 6,000 smartphone users taking part in the program, it’s clear that at least some people aren’t necessarily upset that their privacy is being invaded; they’re upset because they get nothing in return. Luth Research is giving these people the opportunity to get something in return, though only San Diego County residents can participate.