Internet Spying

Your secrets aren’t very secret:

On Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.’s dictionary website, one tracking file from Healthline Networks Inc., an ad network, scans the page a user is viewing and targets ads related to what it sees there.  So, for example, a person looking up depression-related words could see Healthline ads for depression treatments on that page — and on subsequent pages viewed on other sites.

Healthline says it doesn’t let advertisers track users around the Internet who have viewed sensitive topics such as HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, eating disorders and impotence.  The company does let advertisers track people with bipolar disorder, overactive bladder and anxiety, according to its marketing material.

See the full article on tracking your online secrets.

Comments (6)

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  1. Tom H. says:

    This does seem like Brave New World.

  2. Joe S. says:

    Tell me why HIV/AIDS and STDs are sensitive topics but depression and bipolar disorders are not? That’s a disticntion not worth making. I suspect that before long all such boundaries will be pushed aside and long forgotten.

  3. Vicki says:

    I agree with Joe. These are distinctions not worth making. Truth is, you don’t have any secrets once you start searching for something on the Internet.

  4. Linda Gorman says:

    To avoid being tracked while searching try using an anonymizing proxy server. Kids use them all the time to get around school computer site blocks.

  5. Virginia says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday. I automatically assume that anything I type into a computer is online and easily viewed by millions. Right now we’re worried about privacy because information can be damaging to us. But, my theory is that in the future, there will be so much dirt on everyone that it won’t matter.

    It’s unfortunate that our privacy is so limited, but perhaps it won’t be as big of an issue in the future.

  6. Devon Herrick says:

    The new version of Google has an anonymous search feature. There are also various Windows Cleaners to purge cookies so one web site cannot easily snoop on what you’ve viewed on other web sites.

    I read an article written three years ago by David E. Williams (Health Business Blog) “What if Google finds out you have cancer before you do?” The idea is sort of scary that Google could analyze symptoms you’ve researched, piece together a possible diagnosis and display advertisements on remedies for a condition you don’t even know you have.