Big Brother is Watching Because Information Equals Profit
I installed a news gadget on my desktop. What surprised me was that I was being fed articles from various news sources that interest me. I hardly ever get articles that I have no interest in. I find that phenomenal. If a new hobby or interest of mine comes along, I get the latest news articles about it fed to me. It got me thinking as to how this is possible. The answer is simple. Every website that I visit is being tracked and my surfing patterns are being gathered and stored. This is then linked to my profile and every time I log in articles are sent to me.
Not a day goes by when I walk into a store and I am asked if I have a loyalty card. When I say no they ask me if I would like one. Loyalty might seem like good idea to some people especially when they offer money back or some discount. All these stores want to do is gather information about you and link it to your profile. They want to know what your buying patterns are like, when you purchase and importantly where you purchase it. This information allows many possibilities. With all this information they are allowed to target the buyer with advertisements that matter.
We are living in an age where the more you know the more you can provide. All they want is information so that they can personalize advertisements, articles and emails to you. The business model makes a lot of since and has proven a huge success especially for online advertising agencies. Why send me an advert on the latest baby food? I have no interest. Send me an advert about the latest gadget and I will be interested. This offers a much better success rate.
What is scary is how this information is stored and how secure it is. What happens if somebody hacks into the system and gathers all the information? Everything I do will be out in the public. I really dont want my employer to know that I have been viewing the latest job sites.
The issues of ethics certainly arise. If someone has been visiting websites that indicate criminal behavior, just what sought of responsibility do these organizations have to report it? Will they just ignore it to protect consumer privacy? Imagine if they could have prevented the latest terrorist activity or jailed a pedophile before it targets its next victim. The reaction of the public will certainly be a blow to these organizations knowing that what ever they do could be exposed.
Big brother is watching everywhere as information means knowledge which means profit. The question is how far are we willing to go to make the extra buck?