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A team of researchers has spent 18 months auditing criminal forums and marketplaces. What they found is astounding - over 15 billion pieces of stolen personal information up for sale. Asking prices ranged from £7 for social media logins to almost £100,000 for administrator accounts that could give access to internal business networks.

The amount of stolen data has increased by 300% since 2018 and this will only continue growing as more services move online and more data is shared between people and businesses. We believe people need to take back control of their data, and that’s why we created Self.


The UK government, along with six others, has published an international statement requesting tech companies (specifically Facebook) halt the use of end-to-end encryption. Laughably, they say that they support strong encryption except when it means they can’t access people’s data. They go further and pretend that this desire to crack down on encryption is about child protection.

It’s not, it’s about spying on people. And it’s about them having access to as much data on their populations as they possibly can. Social media companies collect more data on people than governments could ever dream of and this is just an attempt to muscle their way into the ever growing data party.


A US academic has uncovered a 2.4-million-person database he says was compiled by a Chinese company known to supply intelligence, military, and security agencies. It includes details of politicians, diplomats, activists, academics and more, and lists their close relatives, contact details and affiliations with political and other organisations.

This is exactly the future that scares us here at Self: a future where sensitive personal information can be acquired and misused at the drop of a hat.

What’s most worrying is that most of the data was compiled using completely public information available on social media. This illustrates exactly how seemingly harmless information about an individual can be aggregated from multiple sources and then used against them. In this case, the aim of the database was to understand how to exert influence on these people if required.