And I’m not talking about your roommate walking in on you in the bathroom. I’m talking buying behavior (though bathroom privacy should be noted), because the fact of the matter is, we’re being watched! By our browsers at least, and more specifically by the algorithms and cookies digging away at our info. But this has caused a stir in the internet community, companies like Microsoft were taking aim at Google
with a marketing campaign declaring that consumers were being “scroogled” with targeted advertisements based on their e-mails and search histories.
Is Google using that info to better advertise its other services? Many have argued that, or something similar, and lets be honest, with 70% of queries being done through Google why wouldn’t you? If you are Google at least, but they claim its to better the user experience and all in all, I’d say they have done a great job. Back to privacy though, just because Google, as well as any other site tracking consumer buying behavior, can track does not mean everyone wants them do so and that has lead to a high demand for online privacy. Naturally, businesses are responding to that distress call,
Mozilla, and underdog in the browser market, suggested last week that it would allow its users to disable third-party tracking software altogether.
This is a potentially big step for Mozilla and a good way of gaining a larger audience concerned with privacy. The reality of the situation though..
Advertisers have said openly that they will not stop tracking just because a consumer sends a Do Not Track signal through his or her browser.
To some, the STOP sign doesn’t mean much so even if your browser is set to block those cookies and algorithms, some are still making their way through, watching your every search. “What is the big deal? They are just trying to improve your shopping experience!” Whatever improvements are being made does not matter to some consumers though.
Who can really blame these people either. If I am buying something online that isn’t from Amazon and some other big name brand, I get hesitant because I don’t trust the site. The flip side to that is that the brands I do ‘trust’ are the ones that are applying the cookies (that’s not to say that smaller sites are not doing the same) and violating my ‘privacy’. What kind of world is it where you can’t trust your internet browser? Sounds a bit like a first world problem, and it may be, but that doesn’t change the fact that it adds a discomfort to many individuals. This is what is putting demand on these privacy companies.
a host of companies big and small are offering a variety of privacy tools like ways to encode Facebook posts and ways to secure personal data stored in the cloud.
Scrambls, it encrypts a social network post or e-mail, effectively locking it, and lets the author choose who should have a key to read it.
Both quotes are further examples of what is being done to aid in consumer privacy. It reminds me somewhat of what Blackberry has focused on heavily and that is encryption codes within the phone which makes it harder for others to intercept information. Luckily some companies are using some form of similar technology to apply to social media sites and e-mail. Like many things in this world, privacy won’t come cheap, but for now it is free since most of these companies are trying to get the ball rolling. We should all expect a spike in price in the future and then again, I’m sure there are plenty of us who don’t really give a damn. In which case, shop and search on! As for the rest of us, apply the Do Not Track button and THEN shop and search on!