Back in the early days of the internet, the social contract between user and website was pretty straightforward. Most content was free, as long as you didn’t mind a few banner ads that funded the site. Nowadays, it is your personal data that is paying, and few people realise just how much they are being tracked and monitored.
It wasn’t that long ago that the internet was only used in the office, but as it started to creep into our households, our phones, our TVs, so did the monitoring and tracking of very personal aspects of our lives.
For example, search engines such as Google do not only file away search information, but continue to track your online journey from where you came from, on to where you are going, even working across devices, from laptop to phone to tablet, to build a profile of you.
Deleting your cookies, browser history and using Incognito mode really do nothing to solve the problem either. Advertisers know your age, sex, location and even your income bracket or online purchasing history, and bundle this into an online profile defining you as a user and selling that data to the highest bidder.
Needless to say, this will affect the information you are given on offers and search results based on your age, income level, likes, etc, which can be both a good and a bad thing.