Terms and conditions apply is the term that allows the companies to share personal information. Not so funny is that just to do business we agree to the terms and sign off on privacy. If you choose to not agree to the terms your simply not going to be able to do any business with the company. People say, " I am a good person what do I need to hide?" Companies share information because we let them.
How much trust do you have in the companies you do business with to keep your personal information secure?
They share the info because they make money. I use Firefox with add-on NoScript that blocks a lot of the info gathering. I don't have a big problem with Google watching me because that is the price of using their free apps. I have a bigger problem with a company I buy something from selling that info especially if my name is attached.
I don't trust them at all. On the one hand, I have to mail a signed letter to my former college to get them to release my transcripts to someone I choose, on the other hand, almost anyone can get a hold of my credit report and use it to make decisions about me that have nothing to do with granting me a loan. Heaven knows what my doctors and my insurance company are doing with my health information, and that's just the people who have legally obtained my personal information. Hackers could get my credit card numbers by hacking Target, Kmart, Amazon, or any number of gas stations I've used, and someone could gain access to my bank accounts by hacking my local credit union. Internet security experts have likened the use of our Social Security numbers as our personal identifiers to using the same password on every account we have on the internet. Our personal information is no more secure than our houses would be if we never locked them. We might not get robbed today or tomorrow, but it will happen sooner or later.
I don't trust even the biggest companies. Not only do they obviously use our personal information for monetary gain, sometimes going as far as to selling the data to third parties who do who knows what with it, but they also have proven to be unable to protect their own secure data from being stolen by hackers.
I don't trust any of them really. Aside from human nature being what it is there is the whole issue of incompetence.