Four reasons why Do Not Track turned into Do Not Trust

It's hard to agree on a privacy standard when neither side can agree about the definition of four common English words.

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Of course, the free Web isn’t free. For one thing, you or your employer are paying a lot of money for that Internet connection. You may have even upgraded your service to get more bandwidth and a faster connection. And how is that bandwidth being used? To load dozens -- and in some cases hundreds -- of third-party tracking cookies you didn’t ask for and didn’t expect, but slow down your surfing considerably.

More important, you are paying for the Web with your data. Which would still be OK, if the tradeoffs were made absolutely clear and consumers really had a say in the matter. Right now, we don’t. Unless you’ve installed Abine’s DoNotTrackMe or Ghostery (and then opted out), you’re being tracked – right now, right here, on this site. It is the way of the Web, circa 2013.

But the trade-offs are much greater than you might imagine. Online profiling isn’t just about delivering “more interesting” ads and collecting more pennies for them; it’s much bigger and more insidious than that.

More on that in a future post.

See also: Web trackers are totally out of control.

Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blogeSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld onTwitter and Facebook.

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