For this week’s process post, we will be talking about the implications of analytics and cookies everywhere you go on the internet.
No matter where you go, you are being followed on the internet through something called cookies. Whenever you visit a website, cookies are most likely being added to your browser to track you and recognize the next time you visit the website.
These cookies and other trackers are how it seems like the internet is always spying on you. For example, if you went shopping looking for a hockey helmet on Amazon, Google’s AdSense would most likely start serving you ads for hockey helmets at other stores that have paid them to advertise.
One example that I remembered is when Target was able to find out a girl was pregnant before her father did. According to Forbes, a man received coupons for baby clothes and cribs which were addressed to her daughter. He then yelled at the manager, and then found out that she was indeed pregnant and called to offer the manager an apology (2012). The way this worked is “Target … sent coupons for baby items to customers according to their pregnancy scores,” which were based on their past shopping purchases (Hill, 2012).
This one was particularly scary because it worked even better than a pregnancy test, simply based on your purchase history or what you searched for. Even scarier, this article was created 10 years ago, imagine what they could do now with the technology.
Therefore, it poses the question that presented itself in the Digital Breadcrumbs podcast, “Are we all blissfully unaware like Amanda? And should we be worried?” (Pod Academy, 2016).
To answer this question, I think that we need to be blissfully unaware, as currently there are not too many detractors other than some privacy breaches. When we decided that we wanted to live in a world where everything is powered by the internet, this is the price we must pay. Everything will fall apart once everything becomes aware as it would add to many layers of complexity to rework everything.
The GDPR, which is one of those policies, has made some companies leave as it was too complicated to rework it to be up to standard.
All in all, the internet tracks everything you do anyways, and unless all 7B people decide that’s not something they want, it will continue.
Hill, K. (2022, October 12). How target figured out a teen girl was pregnant before her father did. Forbes. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/?sh=1a2f46db6668
Pod Academy. 2016. “Digital breadcrumbs: The data trail we leave behind us.” http://podacademy.org/podcasts/digital-breadcrumbs-our-data-trail/