According to a new study performed by Krux Digital, in the last year there has been a huge surge in the number or companies and services that are following you around the Internet.
Finding out what you do on the Internet is a massive business now and you are the product. Does that freak you out a little? It should. According to the Krux Digital study, the number of companies tracking you on “popular” sites has nearly doubled in the last year and the number of “data collection events” has risen 400% in the same period.
So what is all that information being used for? Who’s checking out what we’re doing? Well… that’s just the thing: We don’t know. You are not asked if you want to give the information, it is just taken. You are not asked if you are ok with them selling the information, it’s just sold. You are not given any warning about what sites or services are tracking you or what information they’re gathering. That should trouble you, it certainly troubles me.
It is, however, not all doom and gloom. The Internet is full of smart people (as well as trolls and cats) and they are aware of the problem – The smart people… the trolls and cats would not be of much use in this instance. So if this post has got you thinking, then I suggest you head over to TED and watch a video by Gary Kovacs. He will explain the situation, give you some tools to track the people that are tracking you and offer some suggestions on how we can work against this worrying trend.
One of the major powers of the Internet is it’s anonymity. That can get irritating when we have to deal with the trolls, but ask an Egyptian or Chinese citizen about how important it is and you will see that we need to be very careful about how we let the Internet develop.
“If you stare long into the abyss, the abyss states back into you” – Friedrich Nietzsche