You’re being TRACKED!

You think no one knows what you’ve been surfing on the net. Guess what, they do. You have been tracked all along.

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I’m sure you’ve heard about cookies. Not the ones you eat during Hari Raya or Deepavali, but HTTP cookies, a small piece of text stored on your computer by a web browser. It remembers specific information about you, such as your site preferences or the contents of your electronic shopping carts.

Secondly, there’s geo-targeting which delivers advertisements based on your location. (I’m not too sure how they get such information because IP address was said to be non-permanent.) . So if you are staying in Johor, you wouldn’t be getting an advertisement that was meant for Klang Valley users.

Furthermore, you also have behavioral targeting. It’s basically information that has been collected based on the pages you have visited and things you have searched for. This helps the ad networks to choose which online advertisement to deliver to you. Knowing you have visited charity sites in the past week, you are more likely to see an ad asking for donations. Smart huh?

To top it off, now there’s hyper targeting which means they track information you have entered about yourself in social sites (Facebook, Tweeter, Friendster). With the help of this technology analysis, advertisers get to access narrowly defined target audience. For example, say you have mentioned in your Facebook page that you enjoy watching movies, you are more likely to be hit with a movie advertisement as compared to those who says they enjoy outdoor activity.

For me, this feels like having a chip installed in my clothes informing a third party what time I took breakfast, how I went to work and how many times I went to the toilet. Sounds bit paranoid? Maybe ignorance is bliss in this case. These people who track us, advertising agencies and networks comfort the paranoid ones by saying “… your actions as an individual are totally uninteresting – no one is tracking you personally”. It is entirely business, they claim.

But no matter our profession, or our interest, I believe we should be more literate regarding this – just to be on the safe side.

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