Technology and Business Law Blog

Eves Dropping into our Online Activities

I have written before about our online activities being monitored with the help of cookies that track our movements in the cyber world in one of my earlier posts. Now, according to this article in the washington post online surveillance is being taken a step further and the new monitoring, known as “deep-packet inspection,” enables a far wider view — every Web page visited, every e-mail sent and every search entered. Every bit of data is divided into packets — like electronic envelopes — that the system can access and analyze for content.

Online advertising and targeting a consumer based on their personal needs, preferences and consumption habits and behaviour patterns is lot more lucrative than blindly bombarding them with ads for new products. To target a consumer on a more one on one personalized basis a lot more information about the individual is needed and one way of doing that is to follow them around while they go about their lives in the online world and find out more about the individual’s preferences.

Every time we give out personal information we are assured that the information will be kept confidential and will not be given to third parties but sooner or later the information is passed on or how else are we flooded with junk mail, spam and relentless marketing calls? There is too much money to be made by selling our private confidential information to vendors of products, we have to be really naive to believe it when we are told that our information will not be given out.

When Internet providers have access or track every keystroke that we make then, critics liken it to a phone company listening in on conversations.

But the above article is not about we giving out information and that being passed on but it is about us being tracked without us knowing about it, that is without our consent, and if any of the vendors do get consent it is sandwiched in between long agreements that the consumer normally finds too complicated to comprehend or just has no choice but to agree to it if they want to go ahead with the transaction or utilize the services.

Such privacy measures aside, however, consumer advocates questioned whether monitored users are properly informed about the practice.

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April 4, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

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