by Joakim Larsen
You may think the Internet is a private place but it is not. On-line tracking is wide-spread and it is big business. Tracking companies drop cookies and other ware onto your computer to monitor your activity.
Companies like Google and Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and Instagram load cookies onto your browser with a unique identifier in order to track you across multiple websites over an undisclosed amount of time. This allows them to correlate several consecutive website visits. When you click on one web site and then moves on to another, the cookie embedded in the first site keeps track of your searches, thereby building up a repository of information over time.
This is called data mining. This kind of invasive technology goes beyond just ousting someone’s deep, dark secrets; companies can harness this data to influence your purchasing habits, alter your opinions, and possibly even use you to further their careers.
There are many companies whose sole purpose is to gather and trade people’s information. Over time they piece together a comprehensive profile about you. The data include your age, gender, income, diet, weight, browsing habits, allergies, and job title. These are all considered succulent snippets of data. Included are also your search history, your click history and your like history. The more data they can collect, the more valuable your profile becomes.
The companies use these data to help convince you to buy their merchandise…or worse, they may aim at changing the way you feel about yourself. What is even more alarming is how advertisers have begun combining this data with your social media accounts to create an surprisingly accurate and scary portrait of you.
It is called targeted advertising, and it is a side of the Internet so new there aren’t any regulations to control it. The number of ways companies use to track is unkown. But there are a few known methods:
-- Seeding: an online survey requests access to a specific social media profile in order for you to win a prize. As soon as access is granted to the survey, the user becomes a seeder. Embedded trackers in the survey will download every bit of data about the user's friends.: name, age, gender, likes, dislikes, etc. which then can be used to offer them the same survey.
-- Cancas fingerprinting: the drawing of an invisible image on the visited web sites lets web sites track its users. How the users computer reacts to the image determines the users browser, OS, software, and a host of other data. The combination of this data can contribute to building a unique profile about you, which can be used to track the user around the Internet.
-- Cookie syncing: when a user visits a web site with an advertiser's cookie embedded, it makes a request to other sites to share information. Once two or more trackers sync cookies, they are able to exchange specific user data between their individual servers, enabling them to paint a much more accurate picture of who the user is and what his or her interests are. Cookie syncing is now so accurate that two ID numbers of the same user can be linked . This means that trackers can combine the data from the users computer with the users mobile phone.
Email and Credit Card Details
The most valuable information the companies can gather about you is your email address. Especially if there is a credit card connected. And usually there is. For your email is how you identify around the Web. Its how you register, log in, get acces, and communicate with companies and people you know. When the companies have both your email and your browsing history they track your email and send you spam.
Your credit card and email are linked online too. For whenever you make a purchase online, you identify with your email to receive a confirmation. When you use your credit card on the Web, you dont know what companies do with it, how long they keep it on file, or where they store it...
The more places you expose your email and credit card (especially together), the more your data is exposed to data breaches, online criminals, and hackers.
- Source: Edward Snowden, Wired.com, Albine.com, ExpressVNP.com, Yahoo.com, Observer.com
The right to privacy on the Internet has been violated. Many say they have nothing to hide. But this is beside the point. If you have nothing to hide, why should you be watched?
If someone broke into your home and went through your documents and your private data, you would feel violated and angered. Why should your digital information be excempt from this? The only difference with online spying is that you remain unaware that it is happening. Otherwise you would become just as angered towards it.
Activity on every Facebook, Linked-In, Google+, Twitter, Yahoo account, browsers bringing Google search results, Microsoft devices and devices running Windows operating systems, Google Chrome browser, and devices running Mac Operating System, every search on Safari and Internet Explorer, every Paypal, iPay and Google Wallet transaction, every G-mail, Outlook and Yahoo mail, every bit of content in our Cloud storage, Dropbox, Drive, One Drive and Sky Drive, messages on Messenger and Google Talk Instant Messaging, every Skype Facetime, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp call, every file on Flickr and Instagram, are victims to monitoring, recording, categorising and storing.
- Source: Anonymous.
Examples of Businesses Who Track you for Money
Below four examples of businesses that make profit from tracking you, and building your profile for advertising or for sale. Source: Albine.com
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