NBC gathered personal information from 300,000 people who answered a question about "the most important relationships in your life" via the show’s app, reports TheWrap.com.
More than 300,000 people played online and answered questions about their personal lives in an effort to get on the show, the story says.
"NBC says it is not sharing the information with advertisers, who want to tailor their messages as specifically as possible, but may use it to help decide what kinds of shows and ads to offer," the article notes.
Would-be contestants were asked questions about their education, cell phone providers, which clubs they belonged to and whether they owned a lucky charm, among other queries, the story says.
"We don’t need to do anything with it because it’s obviously sensitive data, but we got a really good insight into the kinds of people who would use these kinds of goods and services,” Paul Telegdy, NBC’s president of alternative and late-night programming, told the publication.
The network didn’t dupe anyone into providing the information, given that the applicants were trying to get on TV and would have likely made the information public. But participants might not have been aware that NBC could mine the data to get insights into their habits, the story notes.
"They may be surprised that not only does the company hold onto the information, but they’re using it for other purposes,” Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, told the publication. “That’s a privacy issue even for people willing to disclose a lot of personal information.”