Are you leaving a cookie trail on the net?
The answer is most probably yes. Many people enjoy the feeling of being anonymous when browsing the web but websites are getting smarter and in some ways sneakier when documenting and tracking online user and browsing information.
Personalised User Details:
Online advertisers might know more about you than you than you would like them to know. Targeted user-driven advertising is proving to be lucrative from of online marketing. Online security researchers have shown that when enter you real identity on one website, it becomes easier to identify you when you are entering another website on the Internet.
Nowadays most websites and especially social networking sites require users to provide their personal details when completing the registration process. Users are no longer allowed to use Pseudonyms and sites like Facebook will even go so far as to block users who are suspected of using pseudonyms. Most popular social networking sites offer free site registration and usage but there is a priceyour personal information.
Sharing information through Interlinking:
Facebook recently expanded their ability to track their online users by adding like icons to various sites on the web. This gives Facebook users insight into the browsing habits and site preferences of their Facebook friends. Other social networking sites are also finding ways of interlinking various accounts and streamlining information from multiple accounts. Facebook gives users the ability to link their Twitter profile with their Facebook profile so that a singular post on your Facebook page will simultaneously appear on your Twitter page. This interlinking strategy is one way in which sites can exercise greater control over their users while targeting advertisements more effectively.
But how exactly do websites do this? Well cookies are one way in which user information can be tracked. Cookies are temporary files, which saves and tracks user information from your browser. They are snippets of data that websites deposit on visitors computers so that returning visitor activity can be measured and recognized. Cookies enable companies to track movement on the Internet and reveal things about the users browsing habits.
What about user privacy?
In 2010, privacy experts discovered that a certain social networking site was sending information about its users to advertisers who also track user browsing through cookies. The site corrected this privacy leak but only after the issue received ample media exposure. Many companies are now able to track people as they move around the web and capture browsing histories.
This raises the question of whether or not the online custodians of user information will be responsible and discreet with the information they are entrusted with. We could to see a change in browsing habits when people realize that they do not have the level of browsing autonomy they once thought they had.