Are Cookies on Websites Unethical?

The use of cookies on websites is an alarming thing to learn about. Without knowing the behind the scenes of marketing, I believed this collection of information was not right and honestly scary. But is this practice of collecting user data as unethical as it looks? 

My first thought like many was that it has to be unethical to take all of this personal information from people just for entering a site. These companies know a lot about us and that can be scary to our privacy. However, after understanding the process better I don’t find it as unethical.  Learning about the marketing aspect and use of the information has opened my eyes more.

Privacy policies

I believe the most important information that needs to be brought to light is that most websites, by law, must inform their users that they use cookies. The consumers have every right to read more into it and decline it if they want to. However, all of these consumers are aware of the cookies and still proceed to accept the terms. If consumers truly didn’t want all of their information being taken, there are ways to get around it such as using Google Chrome’s incognito browser which lets you explore web pages without any information on you being collected. Cookies aren’t something that companies are hiding. They let the consumers know and choose a different path if they really wanted to.

How cookies are used

It was also comforting to know what the companies use the information for. In general, your information is safe with companies online. They simply use the information to get a better idea of their demographic and how to better advertise their product. It also helps them to make target audiences made up of consumers with similar interests or attributes that the marketing team has learned from analytics. They don’t use the information for anything except better marketing strategies. I don’t believe this is unethical as long as the information is secure in their hands and not being used for anything else. I do believe some companies get closer to being unethical when they start to use people’s information to single out specific people. Usually these analytics are used to get a better idea of consumers and groups but there are companies that get very personalized in approaches.

I don’t believe the collection of everybody’s information is necessarily comforting but there isn’t malicious intent or technically any unethical behavior behind it. I understand that the taking of someone’s information can look bad, but if companies are doing everything right there is no reason they shouldn’t be allowed to. 

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