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The shocking extent of web tracking for targeted ads

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The Atlantic published a piece about the frequency and extent of online tracking carried out by hundreds of companies, small and large, for advertisements.

Computer lady - Shutterstock
Computer lady - Shutterstock

Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic has an insightful and information-packed piece about the many companies which semi-anonymously track your web browsing habits all for the purpose of targeting you with better ads. A lot of the larger companies -- Google, Facebook, Microsoft -- have come under scrutiny for such practices, but hundreds of smaller companies on most websites are doing the very same thing. And yes, it's a huge money maker. One of Madrigal's best points, however, is not about the volume of tracking, or the frequency with which we are all tracked online, but the fact that we have not, as a society, had a real, public debate about some of the extremely important underlying issues. For instance, most people are now aware that they are being tracked online, but almost clearly most people do not have an understanding of what type of information they are exposing about themselves.