Yesterday I was searching for flights from Bangalore to Kolkata on Cleartrip.com. I just went through some of the deals that they had and then I left the site without booking any ticket. Little did I know that I was giving way personal information and my usage behavior just by using the site without even logging in!
Today I go to YouTube and play a video. I am surprised, I find an advertisement on my sidebar, from Cleartrip.com making some offer about flights from Bangalore to Kolkata only. Now how did the ad on YouTube know that I had searched for these flights on Cleartrip? There are possibly thousands of combinations of cities in which you get flights in India, yet it suggested my exactly Bangalore to Kolkata. I wonder, how much of information i just leaked by browsing many sites just like this?
Given that online advertising is a billion dollar industry and it is not going to go away soon, but then tracking a user’s behavior and then just giving out ads based on that, is just a compromise of privacy! I wonder how much of information people leak out every day on the internet just by browsing websites. Internet giants might have even built profiles of you and your interests just by your usage tracking. For example, if search for movies in Jodhpur, I bet somebody will be guessing that you are in Jodhpur and new releases in the movie halls. This could be unknowingly used to provide customized advertisements to you, without you even asking for it or having any clue about it! Why would anybody want to give out such personal information to a third party without even having a clue who that is and how that data will be used?
Today’s age is of relevant information but sometimes that information might be unknowingly used and sold to companies just for their interest in sales and advertisement! Modern web browsers like Mozilla Firefox or Safari provide an option of Do Not Track that puts you in control of the way your information is collected and used online. Do Not Track is a feature that allows you to let a website know you would like to opt-out of third-party tracking for purposes including behavioral advertising.
We need to take heed and be a little more cautious on how we browse the web because unknowingly others might be tracking us, and in order to keep the web open and secure we should be the one that should be in-charge of our online experience!