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Somebody’s Watching Me

Somebody’s Watching Me

When looking at it from a marketing standpoint, the digital world’s ability to capture important information about who you are as a person makes it so much easier to target you with the right ads and the right message. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Marketers can hyper-focus on the right audience, and that same audience isn’t constantly bombarded with products and brands that they have no interest in.

However, there’s an important factor that played into all of this that made it somewhat acceptable; while your information was available, it wasn’t able to personally identify you. That is to say, marketers could aim their ads in your direction, but wouldn’t specifically know who you were.

Well… a few months ago, unnoticed to the public, Google quietly changed that, literally crossing out a clause that was in their privacy policy stating that DoubleClick cookie information will not be combined with personally identifiable information without consent. Now, with the change, it’s likely that many users are in a situation where they are having this happen to them without their knowledge.

There really isn’t anything to fear with this, as it really only means that ads will receive even more ability to personalize their targeting and their message to an individual. That said, as the promise and illusion of anonymity continue to fade away, more and more users may look into ways to hide their online presence. Many tools exist like uBlock Origin and Disconnect to obfuscate your online footprints, and while they currently are only being used by the most privacy-conscious of users, that may change as major companies like Google continue to make changes like this to how it handles privacy online.

Here’s a link to the official Google policy archive, which can highlight the difference between revisions.

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