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Web tracking has become a privacy time bomb

In Big Brother, Tech on August 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

By Byron Acohido

The coolest free stuff on the Internet actually comes at a notable price: your privacy.

For more than a decade, tracking systems have been taking note of where you go and what you search for on the Web — without your permission. And today many of the personal details you voluntarily divulge on popular websites and social networks are being similarly tracked and analyzed.

The purpose for all of this online snooping is singular: Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook and others are intent on delivering more relevant online ads to each and every one of us — and bagging that advertising money.

Trouble is, the tracking data culled from your Internet searches and surfing can get commingled with the information you disclose at websites for shopping, travel, health or jobs. And it’s now possible to toss into this mix many of the personal disclosures you make on popular social networks, along with the preferences you may express via all those nifty Web applications that trigger cool services on your mobile devices.

As digital shadowing escalates, so too have concerns about the erosion of traditional notions of privacy. Privacy advocates have long fretted that health companies, insurers, lenders, employers, lawyers, regulators and law enforcement could begin to acquire detailed profiles derived from tracking data to use unfairly against people. Indeed, new research shows…

Full article…

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