Tracking on the internet
In this continuation a of the Internet Privacy Series, we will go a step up, to up your privacy on the Internet! (Check all the previous parts pf the Internet Privacy Series to keep up with thetqweb on the Safer Internet campaign!)
I am pretty sure you have heard stories about Internet Trackers or have experienced them first-hand, where they track you everywhere (on the internet, of course), such that the next time you are on the internet using their own or their affiliated online tools, you find recommended content, being what or related to what you’ve been doing on the internet.
If you have experienced first hand anything like the above, and was not pleased, but actually shocked by that, (apparently some people like it because it “makes their life on the internet much easier”) or if you do not want that experience to be your testimony in the near future, then you are on the right platform at the right time (It’s never too late)! The above instance is just one of the many reasons why trackers track you.
Before we dive into the reasons trackers track you, we need to go understand the major types of trackers:
Types of Trackers
– Cookies / Browser Cookies / Computer Cookies / Internet Cookies –> These are small text files that are used to store small pieces of information, and which are stored on your device when a website is loaded on your browser. The data that is stored may be semi-permanent or temporary depending on the settings on your browser. There are several types of cookies but we will focus only on Tracking Cookies, which store data that include a user’s browsing activity in a website or across related websites over a browsing session or over time.
– Cross-Site Tracking Cookies –> These are a type of tracking cookies that follow you as you access different websites across the internet or even when you switch websites (hence the name cross-site). Cross-site tracking cookies may result in advertisers showing you the same damn ads as in the previous websites you have been browsing.
– Fingerprinters –> Fingerprinters are also online trackers but way more advanced, creepier and dangerous on matters privacy. Fingerprinters usually track your moves on the internet, some despite of specifying on your browser the “Do Not Track” option (Depending on your browser), with the aim to create a digital fingerprint. A digital fingerprint is a creation by of a fingerprinter that contains very detailed information on the subjects (users) such as your browser type, your browsing habits, browser preferences, browser add-ons, your computer model and computer specifications (monitor size, etc.) among other details meant to identify you even when using private browsing and/or different browsers.
– Social Media Trackers — >These are trackers courtesy of social media companies who are really interested in your life beyond your pretty little lies or truth in their social media platforms. Therefore, their main aim is to track you around to see you, beyond what you have chosen to share with them and thus to know what you do outside of your social media life.
Why do Trackers track you on the internet?
Trackers no matter which ones track users for their own benefit. The sad thing is that they benefit at the cost of users precious privacy.
Trackers are owned mostly by third-party companies and entities, some of them who DO NOT have ill intentions (But in matters Internet Privacy, we do not care how “holy” your intention is)! The following is an exclusive list of why trackers track you:
–> Possessing user data enables advertisers to serve adverts that are targetted at a user’s interest. This results in a better shot at being relevant to the user and therefore more profit eventually. This is the major reason behind internet tracking!
–> Possessing user data for a hacker (black-hat hacker) means that they get to know their target better, thus making it much easier to hack their more profitable valuables like credit card numbers and medical information (which is way more valuable than many people could ever imagine)! If not careful, hackers can also get hold of this data right from your browsing session, when users use insecure internet protocols (like HTTP) and/or when they give away personal data unknowingly to perfectly cloned websites.
–> Possessing users data for a search engine allows the search engine to recommend more relevant search suggestions and shoe more relevant, accurate and interesting search results.
–> Possessing user data for an online store/shop means that the next time the user is on the online shop/store, they will be shown recommended products that relate to what they were doing on the internet on different or the same browsing session(s).
–> Possessing user data for the government means that they can over time get to know you inside-out for no good reason mostly (or for their own schemes) and for law enforcement agencies it means that they can solve crimes and track you down (physically this time) without much effort.
Now with the knowledge of “Why Trackers track you in the Internet“, you must wanna know, “How to prevent Trackers from tracking you on the Internet” which is the next part of the crucial Internet Privacy Series. Make sure to check it out!
You can add to the list via comments, because we could have missed on some of the other major reasons for tracking on this “Global Village”!
Why Trackers track you in the Internet