Starting around the turn of the millennium, internet-based technology companies have been increasingly collecting, aggregating, and analyzing information from their users. Commonly referred to as big data , this information is largely used to target advertising and predict user behavior, either by the companies collecting the data, or by third parties who purchase it for these purposes. Such practices have sparked disputes about what rights users have to privacy and how their information can be ethically used. Companies like Google, Facebook, Spotify, and Amazon have been accused of being manipulative, invasive, and profit-driven to the point of exploiting their users. Indeed, they consider users to be more like products than customers. Nonetheless, there are numerous benefits to society that these companies provide; the big data industry has allowed for unprecedented access to knowledge, global communication, and all forms of media, often for free or for very little cost, connecting the world in ways that were never possible before. As a result, it could be argued that tech companies (and their usage of big data) in aggregate make the world a better place. Bearing this in mind, there are still numerous ways to minimize their ethically dubious practices without lessening their societal value.