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, “the Internet Has Become a Serious Threat to Our Privacy."

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        The average adult spends 20 hours a week surfing the internet[1]. What that average person doesn’t realize, is that their behavior is being tracked almost every second. One might ask, “Why am I being tracked” or ask “Who even wants to know my weird internet behavior?” No, they are not being targeted by the FBI. They are being targeted by their local Walmart. Due to the exponential increase in internet usage over the past 20-30 years, marketing methodologies have been revolutionized. The public’s internet behavior is being tracked and sold to allow corporations to increase profits and improve their company’s image.  To avoid abuse of this tracking system, where an individual’s privacy is invaded, people should have the ability to somewhat manage what personal information companies collect on them.

        As stated before, people are being tracked every time they use the internet. According to Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, “The Internet has become a serious threat to our privacy."[2] When people use their phone or computers, information about the things we search, products we purchase, and sites we visit are being used to create a “profile” about the user. These profiles that are based of the public’s online behavior are then sold to companies for target advertising and other purposes. [3] By tracking consumer’s online behavior, companies may find personal information on you such as your income, religious beliefs, political affiliations, and even health problems. The most concerning facet of consumer tracking is the lack of awareness people have. There is a major disconnect in the data companies are collecting on the public and what people believe is actually occurring.

        Moreover, technology has advanced and so has marketing. The days where companies just use internet cookies to track what websites we visit are gone. There are new tools called flash cookies and beacons. Flash cookies have the ability to track information that saves information that data the user has deleted. Beacons can literally track everything users do on the internet such as typing and even mouse movement[4]. Device fingerprinting can track browsers on different devices without using cookies.[5] In addition, companies can track consumer location by using WIFI, video surveillance, and even facial recognition. With these tools, companies can discover very sensitive information about a person’s life.

                Consumer behavior and statistics certainly have enduring value. Future marketers and archivist can use this information to analyze how people spent their money at one point in time. What and how people purchase things may describe a society’s needs at one point in time. An archivist may be able to conclude how society’s needs have changed and what potentially caused that change. For instance, technology has definitely changed the way a society behaves. How we shop and what we need are completely different from about 20 years ago. Amazon data is a great example of this. Amazon has made it so convenient for people to shop, that many people don’t even bother going to physical stores anymore. Future researchers can analyze what amazon does to change the way we shop and how this company made consumers want to use amazon so much.

 Consumer behavior data also has enduring value because this information could allow researchers to understand what forms of digital marketing techniques are obsolete.  Researchers can use this information to forecast which marketing methods may be successful and which methods may fail based off past occurrences. In class, we used the Wayback Machine to view how certain websites were designed in the past. This archive could be very useful to companies attempting to upgrade their website layout. These companies can analyze their past website layouts and determine what was missing at that point in time. Then, this company would be able to make changes to their current website accordingly. Similarly, marketing companies could use previous consumer data to advance their advertising methods.

        As stated before, consumer behavior can benefit companies by making marketing easier and improving the company’s image. Therefore, many institutions collect information on consumer behavior. Specifically, companies that desire to increase profits could be interested in consumer behavior. Companies such as Facebook are paid by other businesses to advertise certain products. Using computer cookies, which describe what people search for, Facebook creates different ads for their users. Not only could these institutions use consumer data for advertising, they can use this data to price their products. A company such as Walmart can use consumer data to discover what price consumers are comfortable paying for a product.

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", “the Internet Has Become a Serious Threat to Our Privacy."" 03 2019. 2019. 03 2019 <>.

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", “the Internet Has Become a Serious Threat to Our Privacy."." 03, 2019. Accessed 03, 2019.