Have Behavioral Advertisers Stolen Your Identity?
Remember that scene in Minority Report when Tom Cruise’s character walks into a mall and digital ads all around him continually pitch him by name? This technology is already in practice with online users. Instead of scanning your eyes to target you, advertisers scan your Internet Protocol (IP) address and create personal data profiles about your online interactions in order to impersonate your future self as a consumer. For most Americans, browsing, shopping and messaging online have all become daily activities that have given us more convenience and the ability to reach out farther across the world. As we utilize the internet a trail of data begins to accumulate. Internet service providers, advertising networks, and hackers track websites that online users visit, and collect detailed data of interactions on them. The personal data that online users provide and store online is not legally protected as files and records privately kept in their homes. Personalized and tailored information has become a dependable feature for online users, but companies are not communicating clearly about the options they have to keep their personal data within a clearly accessible environment. I believe that the American public has a right to know where advertisers keep their personal data on the internet. The convenience of free personalized online services in exchange for personal data is expected by Americans, but there is a growing lack of concern for online user’s private relations with internet businesses. In a Wall Street Journal article titled, “They Know What You’re Shopping For,” Jennifer Valentino-Devries reports on a Georgia resident’s experience researching BMWs online. The report tells the story of a man who sent a note to a showroom near Atlanta using a form on the dealer’s website to provide them with his name and contact information. Without his knowledge the personal note was also sent to...
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