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What is online tracking? »

When we go online, whether using a computer or mobile devices, we produce data in some form. Most of the time, the data is basic information about who we are…  more »


What is online tracking?

protect yourself

When we go online, whether using a computer or mobile devices, we produce data in some form. Most of the time, the data is basic information about who we are and what we are doing online. But when enough of that data is gathered together and combined with other information known about you, personal details that we may consider to be private become known to a vast universe of invisible entities. When we are followed around online, and information about our activities is recorded then used to identify us and connect to further information about our habits online and offline, this is called "online tracking."

Many people are surprised to learn that their activities online, including the websites they visit and services they use, are being collected and shared by a variety of commercial and governmental entities. This is because tracking is largely invisible to consumers. Consumers expect that a website they visit (called a "first party") might collect and share some information about them, but they hardly expect that hundreds of unrelated companies like advertisers and marketers (called "third parties") are following their every move and recording them. Advertisers utilize online tracking in order to increase their revenue by sending ads that they consider to be more relevant to your life. Though trading personal information to get more personalized ads may seem attractive, it's not really a value proposition: consumers aren't just in the dark about the extent of online tracking, they mostly do not have a choice whether or not it occurs.

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