Who Collects Data “Behind Your Back”?

by Jay Deragon on 11/21/2011

The collection, analysis and use of consumer data is and will continue to both be valuable and yet threatening to privacy and individual rights.   How and what you communicate and associate with reflects your character, affinities and values. All of this related data is being collected about you so it can be used to target you so you can be sold something.

Businesses run on data and are in constant pursuit of more data, especially those on-line.

In a recent PBS Broadcast Mark Zuckerberg explained how Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are much worse at the practice of collecting your data behind your back than Facebook.

Zuckerberg said: If you look at companies, whether it’s Google or Yahoo or Microsoft, right, that have search engines and ad networks, they also have a huge amount of information about you. It’s just that they’re collecting that about you behind your back, really. And it’s like you’re going — you’re going around the Web, and they have cookies, and they’re collecting this huge amount of information about who you are. But you never know that. 

Who’s Calling The Kettle Black?

Now Facebook engineering director Arturo Bejar has shared what personal information Facebook retains with its tracking cookies, as reported by USA Today.

When you’re logged in, Facebook will keep a timestamped list of the URLs you visit and pair it with your name, list of friends, Facebook preferences, email address, IP address, screen resolution, operating system, and browser.

When you’re logged out, it captures everything except your name, list of friends, and Facebook preferences. Instead, it uses a unique alphanumeric identifier to track you.

Keep in mind that Facebook isn’t tracking your entire browsing history, just your visits to sites with “Like” and “Share” buttons.

Bejar told USA Today that Facebook technically could link your name to your logged-out browsing data, but he “makes it a point not to do this.”

So first Zuckerberg criticizes Google and Microsoft for the data they collect on users then his own company admits to doing the same or more.   And we  believe that Facebook makes a point not to link your name to your logged-out browsing data? Yeah right, just like believing Zuckerberg never lies.

There will be a day when our data is our data and we will control who sees it, uses it and captures it.  When that day comes organizations that don’t comply with our wishes about our data will lose because the marketplace of buyers is much larger than the marketplace of suppliers.  The suppliers data will eventually reveal their practices and it will be transparent for the world to see and judge.

Be careful of the “friends you follow or like”. You never know what they are doing behind your back.


{ 1 comment }

Cayleigh Parker December 7, 2011 at 8:31 am

Thanks for your time and energy invested into this blog! I recently read a great post by Andrew Hunt about how to drive actual revenue from social media for B2B companies, Is Your B-2-B Social Media Strategy Full of B.S.?, check it out (http://www.inboundsales.net/blog/bid/48273/Is-Your-B-2-B-Social-Media-Strategy-Full-of-B-S).

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