Unified ID 2.0 Is the Hot New Privacy Violation on the Web nytimes.com

Brian X. Chen, New York Times:

When you browse the web, an increasing number of sites and apps are asking for a piece of basic information that you probably hand over without hesitation: your email address.

It may seem harmless, but when you enter your email, you’re sharing a lot more than just that. I’m hoping this column, which includes some workarounds, persuades you to think twice before handing over your email address.

First of all, this sort of thing will never be un-funny to me. What can I say? I like the simple things in life.

Second, I am not sure many people think their email address is an inconsequential piece of information. Not to undermine Chen’s reporting on the gross new standard known as Unified ID 2.0 and the myriad ways your email address is tied to your identity, but I think many people are wary of spam at the very least.

You must consider any of your contact information a personal identifier if you do not already do so. After all, how often do you change your email address or your phone number? But you should not need to — worthwhile privacy legislation would restrict their use and prevent the kinds of data enrichment companies that require us to treat simple contact details with the sensitivity of our Social Insurance Numbers.

You can opt out of UID 2.0. As an aside, when I dug around a little with some other opt-out options, I discovered that LiveRamp — previously mentioned — has a process for viewing the personal information it holds. To show me that information, it required me to enter my address, phone number, and email, then use a third-party service to upload pictures of the front and back of my driver’s license and send them a selfie. That service provider says it can use the information it collected on behalf of LiveRamp for, among other things, “operating and expanding our business activities”. Super.