Web-Tracking Vs. Privacy

Last Updated Mar 10, 2008 12:08 PM EDT

The New York Times ran a front-page story today about how companies are collecting massive amounts of data about what people search for on the Internet, and the pages they visit, so they can target them with specific advertisements. Yahoo alone is collecting data more than 2,500 times per month for each user, on average.

Privacy advocates have raised "Big Brother" concerns about this practice, while the companies say those fears are misplaced because they have measures to protect the user's name and personal information, and the practice is a boon to consumers because it will put relevant ads in front of their eyes.

It is certainly more than a two-sided issue, but I can't help but get an eerie feeling knowing that every time I click on a web page, that information is being logged in a computer somewhere. What do you think?[poll id=22]Want to get in on this discussion? Leave your thoughts in our comments section.
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  • William Baker

    William Baker is a freelance writer living in Cambridge, MA. His work has appeared in Popular Science, the Boston Globe Magazine, the New York Daily News, Boston Magazine, The Weekly Dig and a bunch of other places (including Field & Stream, though he doesn't hunt and can't really fish). He is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe, where he writes the weekly column, "Meeting the Minds." He holds a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is at work on his first book.