AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - If you've been online, you've likely seen targeted ads at some point. But, a local cyber expert says don't click so fast.  Often, you'll see targeted ads on Facebook, Instagram or maybe even Twitter. While scrolling, these ads will pop up on your feed. 

“They track where you go and then you will have a digital profile that’s being built on you and then that is what is used by vendors to generate money.” said Jeffrey Morris, Augusta University School of Computer and Cyber Sciences Assistant Professor.

These ads can show products or services you may be interested in based on your data. Before you agree to any privacy policies on various apps, Morris encourages you to ask yourself a question.

"What is it you’re willing to give up for people to know about you?” 

Morris says it’s a question not many consider.

“I don’t think the general consumer has that mindset when they sign up for whatever it is they are signing up for.” said Morris.

“You know, if I told you that any money you put in the bank was going to be stolen at some point in time, would you be willing to give the bank your money? Obviously, the answer would be no but we don’t treat our information like that.” said Morris.

Morris says data ownership laws are still in early stages in the United States.

“The way the legal viewpoint is, if I freely give it to somebody, then that person or that entity can use that data per the terms and service. So, when was the last time you read all the tiny little fonts on your screen when you sign up for something? Places like the European Union have much stricter data policies. Basically, their legal viewpoint is now that your data is yours and only you can legally tell people what they can do with it.” said Morris.

That’s just another reason why he urges you to think before you click.

“If I presume from the beginning that it’s going to be stolen from the people I’m giving it to, maybe I don’t want to share that information or be as free with it.” said Morris. 

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