They’re tracking you!

A year ago I mentioned how the ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ had somewhat backfired – now every website want you to agree to its ‘Privacy Policy’, which is of course ‘Newspeak’ (see George Orwell’s prophetic book ‘1984’, where Newspeak is a language designed to control the way we are allowed to think) for permitting them to intrude into our most private moments.

No-one ever reads privacy policies – they are designed to be impenetrable.  But if a privacy policy doesn’t fit onto a single page, you can be pretty sure that it is giving them all sorts of rights over your private information.

What should you do about it?  One of the most intrusive elements is the ‘tracking cookie’.  This can record pretty much anything that you have done on a website, even when you’re not specifically logged in.  If you put in health questions, this can be recorded.  Then other website, such as one selling health products, can look at this and target you with advertising.

There are various apps that let you delete tracking cookies, and I consider that this is an essential housekeeping operation that everyone should do frequently.

I’m rather annoyed with eBay right now.  Although I always buy from a local shop if I can, I needed something that I couldn’t find in after trawling round the local shops.  I do sometimes use eBay and there was a product already in my list that I’d eventually got somewhere else.  So when I selected the product that I actually wanted, to my despair I saw that instead it had placed an order for the earlier product instead!  I realised that eBay had automatically logged me in and when I went to the order screen, it whacked out that order.  OK so I was not careful enough, but I am pretty careful, and if it happened to me, it happened to lots of others.  Clearly a trick to catch people who are hesitating about placing an order!

To be fair, I was able to cancel the order quite easily, but it was still rather annoying, and clearly a deliberate design ‘feature’ by eBay.

I’ve noticed that ‘Google’ is particularly bad at offering a ‘connected’ experience, which is a Newspeak word for ensnaring you in their net.

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