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Media and Communications

Digital Bytes: Online Tracking

Digital Bytes: Online Tracking


Today, what many of us
would love to believe is that the internet
is a private place. It’s not. And with every click
of the mouse, and every touch of the screen, we are like Hansel and Gretel, leaving breadcrumbs
of our personal information everywhere we travel
through the digital woods. MAN: There’s a big difference between online advertising
at all and this incredibly
intrusive practice of collecting your rating habits
without your consent. Google’s collecting
this information, including things that people say
they do not want. All the surveys of consumers
suggest they’d rather not be tracked
over the internet. MAN: It’s about improving
relevance, it’s about using information
that you’ve shared with Google to make Google products and
services more useful for you. What we want to do is,
we want to deliver products that delight users and
that they find extremely useful. I think the problem here is that we aren’t informed
about this trade-off. I think some of us
would be totally willing to trade our data
for free content, and some people wouldn’t, and I think most people
are just not aware that they’re striking
that bargain. WOMAN: If you post your pictures
on a public website like this, people can grab them
without you even knowing it. Some companies
are cruising sites like Flickr, looking for free images
to use in ad campaigns. Alison Chang
of Bedford, Texas, discovered her picture being
used by Virgin Mobile Australia for an advertising campaign. The tricky part is, she never
agreed to be the model. There’s a big myth out there that young people
don’t care about privacy, and that is about
as inaccurate as you can get.

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