The Wall Street Journal Asks: What Do Online Advertisers Know About You?
News Roundup by Tim Jones August 4, 2010
In a groundbreaking new series titled "What They Know," the Wall Street Journal is taking a close look at the information that online advertisers collect about you as you browse the Web:
"The tracking files represent the leading edge of a lightly regulated, emerging industry of data-gatherers who are in effect establishing a new business model for the Internet: one based on intensive surveillance of people to sell data about, and predictions of, their interests and activities, in real time." What the industry knows about you may surprise you. The articles examine the world of tracking cookies, and other less well-known tracking technologies like flash cookies and beacons. They found that "the nation's 50 top websites on average installed 64 pieces of tracking technology onto the computers of visitors, usually with no warning."
Using information gathered this way, the advertising industry is able to accurately guess substantial information about you - often including your gender, age, income, marital status, credit-rating, and whether you have children or own a home. The findings are used not only to determine what advertisements you see, but sometimes to decide what kind of discounts or credit card offers you're allowed access to.
What They Know
Online Behavioral Tracking