Saturday, January 22, 2011

Corporate Tracking and Privacy
















 Ahh the internet and the paranoia it creates.  Let me explain this so the "Big Brother" fearing individuals will understand.  The internet is Mordor, a dim, dark, volcanic landscape of fear.  Google, is The Eye Of Sauron, a sleepless entity that "sees all."  You, are Frodo Baggins, an innocent, helpless individual that ventures through Mordor regularly.  Alas, in this story Gandalf, Aragorn, and Sam are not around to save your ass!
I personally, don't care if companies track my online activities, and you shouldn't either.  Ad agencies have been doing this for years prior to internet.  The only difference now is the information is transferred faster.
  • Web browsing activity is tracked by use of "cookies," "beacons" and "Flash cookies," small computer files or software programs installed on a user's computer by the Web pages that are visited. Some are useful. But a subset ("third party" cookies and beacons) are used by companies to track users from site to site and build a database of their online activities.  
If you are one that peeks out the window every time a car drives by, follow this tutorial How to Avoid the Prying Eyes.  Before the internet you could "throw away" those pesky survey's asking, "what is your favorite soft drink, magazine, laundry detergent."   Please Google, use my searches and information to cater specifically to my preferences.  This isn't "Big Brother," it's avoiding useless information. I would love to browse the internet with ads for P90X, Call Of Duty, and Godsmack sprayed in my face.  This would save me less work in searching for them!  It's not an invasion of privacy, because the internet isn't private! 
  • The information that companies gather is anonymous, in the sense that Internet users are identified by a number assigned to their computer, not by a specific person's name. Lotame, for instance, says it doesn't know the name of users such as Ms. Hayes-Beaty—only their behavior and attributes, identified by code number. People who don't want to be tracked can remove themselves from Lotame's system. 
We are just a number?  Really, is this a new concept? No, prisoners are numbers, college students are numbers, internet users are numbers!  Everyone just needs to take a deep breath, and realize "cookies" are not illegal, and I prefer Trojan vs. Lifestyles.  That was a freebie, because apparently people pay big money for that information!

8 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you Rudy in saying that the internet isn't private. They aren't invading your privacy if someone chooses to post public information about themselves on a social networking site or some other advertising page. I also would LOVE for advertisements that I am actually INTERESTED in to be all over the side bars of websites that I am on. You mentioned above about P90X, Call of Duty, and Godsmack. If I had to choose three I would choose GNC, Detroit Tigers/Pistons, and Country Music. Like you said above, this way we wouldn't have to search all over the internet just to find out certain information about a company or product. Hahaha and I loved your ending paragraph about cookies. Great humor to add to the end of your post. I will keep that in mind for my next blog post!

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  2. Aww Eric you didn't like my LOTR analogy? I thought it was brilliant!

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  3. Agreed Rudy. Most of the time we have not noticed it until it comes in a article or in this case this class. I have known cookies are there to track what we do.

    The reason why information is so easy and free to find because they want you to find it to track your habits. Its a pay off I will take to get anything off the net.

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  4. I LOVED the LOTR analogy. Very easy way to understand tracking, for 'nerds' like us! It's like wearing the ring and browsing the internet all at once!

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  5. Right! LOLOL only you can't disappear!

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  6. A vivid metaphor is always a great way to make a point. I wonder, though, if you think law enforcement's use of tracking is also acceptable? Is there a difference between corporate tracking of public information for advertising and law enforcement tracking for public safety?

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  7. For me it comes down to legality, in either form, public information or public safety. Both may be considered an invasion of privacy, but neither are illegal at this point. If I had to chose between the two, law enforcement would win. I would much rather know where sex offenders live, than someone waste money and resources on if I prefer Pepsi vs. Coke.

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  8. COOKIES! they really are evil. both for your health and your computer. everytime i close my browser i make sure to clean my browser history cookies n all but we still have to manually go into the cookies folder in our computer to delete EVERYTHING else. theres always something in there. i love the way you wrote this post lol

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