With the recent boom of the internet taking over, consumers are able to find what they are looking for at the snap of their fingers. While it is seen it as a good thing to be able to find the newest Nike sneakers or book a hotel room from their personal device, it can also be viewed as a negative thing with the accessibility a company has to view your information.
How does a Company Track your Information?
Google Analytics allows an online business to track pageviews, the amount of time someone spends on a site, and where users click. This information is beneficial to a company to see what features are popular or not. The problem some have with this analytics software is that it also examines “cookies”, which is personal data taken from your device. These cookies track information such as usernames, locations, and user preferences.
The Ethical Dilemma…
While digital marketers find user preferences helpful to better market and target their select audience, it is possible this information comes at the expense of the consumer. Some label information tracking to be unethical, but there are views on both sides. Collecting user information is often done without consent, used after viewing the website, and then stored in a database. Over a period of time, these stored cookies from major or frequently visited sites can grow to complete a full profile on yourself and your preferences. This can be seen as extremely invasive to some.
How can a User Avoid Tracking Cookies?
Thanks to recent laws, you can decline to allow cookies on individual websites or clear your devices cookies frequently. If a user is worried about how their personal information is being used and stored across websites, I believe it is up to them to have have the knowledge and understand of what digital tracking is and how to stop it. While it may seem unethical, I believe this is just a part of the evolving technical boom. A user should understand that if they are using a device and connecting to internet, their data will be taken and stored in some fashion or another.