It’s easy to be apathetic about abstract terms like “privacy,” but much harder to be so casual if some stranger asks you to, say, share your kids’ schedule and the location of their schools. This is one reason why the terms we use matter so much when talking about user privacy, and why Orwellian definitions of words like tracking, anonymity, choice and freedom are an enormous red flag that should make all of us a little jumpy.
What worries you more, being “tracked” or being “targeted”? Would you rather have your browsing history captured and recorded by hundreds of companies you’ve never heard of, or would you elect to view “more interesting” ads? They are essentially two sides of the same thing.
Of course, if online tracking and profiling were only about the type of ads you see, we wouldn’t still be talking about this. Profiling goes way beyond whether the same ads are following from site to site or if you just see generic ads for reducing belly fat and cheap mortgages. The implications are actually quite huge. But that’s the subject for another day.
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