You’ll Never Walk Alone

The NSA is not the only one monitoring every move you make, every breath you take. In their desire to anticipate our wants and needs before we know them ourselves, the Times reports that major web companies–Yahoo!, , AOL (it’s still around? I’ll be damned)–are “gathering clues about the tastes and preferences of a typical user several hundred times a month.” They too are ever-careful not to abuse our privacy and besides, “the data [they collect] is a boon to consumers, because it makes the ads they see more relevant.” You know what would be even more of a boon than more relevant ads? Fewer ads.

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  • DDash

    I believe this topic was brought up in our Internet Law class, and it’s just creepy that before even reading my Gmail I see ads that all magically relate to the content of my emails. Fewer ads would definitely be great, even if you could opt out of targeting emails. My point is that using the collected data to publicly target consumers just makes me wonder what they are privately doing with some of the data they collect.

  • Karim Saab

    I want to make a confession, when I signed up for facebook I never read the terms and conditions. I don’t think many of you have either. But if you look carefully you can find this,

    “By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works,”

    I don’t think many of us realize how our personal information is being bought and sold. Think about what information on a person facebook can sell to an ad company. People list their phone number, email, university, gender, music preferences, hobbies, etc. etc.

    In fact, I think this is how facebook makes most of their profit.

  • Geetika

    I feel that it is much better to have to stare at ads about products that you own or are interested in rather than other useless stuff. This is certainly a better way of maintaining customer relationship using e-commerce. It gives companies the scope to tailor their products to meet the requirements of their target customers and make new clients. As far as privacy is concerned, it lies in the hands of the people. They can certainly opt out of ad targetting and take precautionary measures against spyware, not all of which is illegal except what is not mentioned in agreements of softwares that customers purchase, by installing anti-spyware programs or using web browsers other than internet explorer.

  • Jimson

    Many of the major companies currently have or are working policies to let users opt out of ad targeting. In some instances, the selective ads benefit internet users as they can readily have access to various sites that might be of more interest to them. I know on Google mail, the ad headings change depending on the the e-mail you are viewing which can be helpful in providing various channels for extra research or additional information.