23 Jan 2012
The sale of data from cookies in third-party datamarts is well established (Time to shed light on the dark art of behavioural advertising). Nothing sinister happens to users – the absolute worst case scenario is that you google “DIY” and B&Q advertising follows you around the internet. Is that such a bad thing? Probably better than being followed by those terrible ads with the before and after diet/exercise photos.
Retaining your privacy online is simple – all you do is use the “private browsing” functionality.
The people who have a problem with re-targeting fall into one of three camps:
1. They are ignorant of how it is done, and see the sinister hand of Big Brother (or they are looking at a lot of content that is unsavoury and don’t want anyone to find out).
2. They work for a legal practice and smell a tasty lawsuit because the law is ill-defined and the public are ill-informed and therefore paranoid about privacy.
3. They are politicians and think they can stir up silly and misplaced fear that might sway a few votes from ill-informed people.
Personally, I can’t see a problem with DIY ads following me around when I’m looking for DIY on the net.