It is true that websites do collect personal information and this information does find its way into third parties. Do we need to be wary of the kind of information that we avail to the various websites that we visit? Does visiting certain websites require one to take care of their privacy needs? This, I guess is the right thing to do. It is possible for websites to track individuals based on the websites that they have visited. The websites will know who you are based on the last time you visited such websites and indeed if you are logged into the websites. Well, the websites that track individuals do so for the purpose of advertising. These websites will always try to find out the kind of information or items that you searched for online. They will build up a profile suitable for your needs and this explains the reason why certain adverts keep popping up based on the items that you searched for.
Now, how do the various websites collect your personal information? What are some of the procedures that they follow to harvest the kind of info that you share online? When you are aware of how this happens, I guess it is easy for you to be safe as you will take measures to counter the obvious privacy breaches that are possible. Here are some of the ways websites collect personal information about a user:
There are ways through which the various websites will track your browsing history and use the information they collect about you. Browsing history makes it easy for the companies to provide you with the various adverts that are suitable for you. So, how is this done? If for instance, you have browsed a website about T-shirts, there are other websites that will present you with adverts about t-shirts. This is done through cookies. The websites use tracking cookies that can be stored on your computer. This way, the websites will track your history directly from your computer and this makes it easy for these websites to compile your browsing history and use it for advertising purposes.
If you do not want your history to be tracked through the cookies, all you have to do is to set your browser to reject the tracking cookies. You can also use privacy plug-ins to help you counter these cookies so that your information and browsing history is not stored.
This is another way through which websites can collect information about a user. This will mostly occur in a website in which you have accounts. When you are signed into your account with websites such as Facebook, eBay, Amazon and so on, analytics programs will collect information about you and your browsing history. Clearing the browser cookies will not help you here! The best way to prevent this information from being collected by third party websites is to use the opt-out setting on the website that prevents information and browsing history collection.
Location and IP Addresses
Practically, all computer connected to the internet is assigned an IP address. Well, the IP address may not provide the exact point of your computer. However, this is also a good way through which a website can collect information about a user. Suffice is to say that there are technologies that can be used together with the websites that you visit to get your location. This may be quite complex but is used by law enforcement to track the real point of location of a computer that is connected to the website. It is possible f or websites such as Facebook and other social networking sites to track your location and post this information on your profile. This is information that can also be used to link you up with friends and even for advertising purposes.
Family Members, Contacts, Associates and Friends
There are complex analytic technologies that websites can use to collect data about your friends and associates. These programs can compute the kind of relationship that you and your friends and associates have. This is more common with Facebook. The information that is so collected can still be used to present you with the suitable adverts. The social networking sites can use your frequency of contact, your common interests with your associates and so on. This way, the websites get t o collect information about you.