Have you ever been surfing around on the web, perhaps looking for something in particular, say, a Cuisinart blender, and you stop surfing for a while. Maybe you eat lunch or go somewhere. Then, when you go back to the computer later to check on something entirely different, there on the side of the web page about gardening, or whatever, is a huge ad for a Cuisinart blender! Yes, I’m sure it happens all the time. If you’re really unlucky, your email provider doesn’t screen spam well enough, and you get a bunch of emails about blenders too. Remember the bad old days when spam just got started? What a mess that was! I used to work with people who became borderline hysterics over the spam, especially the naughty stuff. Teachers have NO sense of humor about getting spam, naughty or nice. It took a lot of work to finally block the spam. We were learning “on the fly” back in those days. Now there’s a better handle on controlling it, thank goodness.
But back to the tracking situation, the Internet itself can become a sort of a tracking tool by leaving “cookies” on our browsers whenever we visit a web site. They’re like a trail of crumbs that show where we’ve been and what we did when we got there. This sort of thing gives some people the willies. It’s way too much like Big Brother watching over us. But in some cases, especially when tracking criminal behavior, child predators, terrorists, and the like, that trail of crumbs can be useful to law enforcement, so there’s kind of a trade-off there.
Now, various web browsers are seeking ways which allow the user to turn off the ability to track his/her web surfing. We can always get rid of our cookies, of course, but who wants to take time to do that extra step every single time you go online?
Personally, I don’t worry about anyone tracking me online. I’m not that interesting. But if you’d care to know what they’re trying to do about online tracking, you might want to take a look at this site. It’s kind of interesting. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12275750 It seems it won’t be easy…