More electronic snooping

This article discusses two issues relating to the current use of media. The first is that social networking and other internet sites are increasingly collecting personal data from their users which could be of interest to marketers: sites visited, search words used, etc.

More electronic snooping

Manfred Mareck

Using personal data is a growing trend, especially when it comes to online advertising. It enables advertisers to target ads more precisely, reduces wastage and, in theory, ensures delivery of relevant messages to individual consumers – so everybody benefits. But strangely those who collect this increasing amount of personal data are often reluctant to inform those whose online usage and behaviour they monitor.

Social network site Facebook was widely criticised when it introduced Beacon, a system that tracked users' habits on and off its site in order to serve ads tailored to specific interests. In...

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