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the financial value that companies derived from personal data in Europe was $72 billion in 20111

In 2020 it’s estimated to be $1.3 trillion (approx. €1 trillion)2.

But do the companies that implement these trackers on their pages care, or even know, what they’re contributing to?

In most cases, I think not.

The short-term winnings for the site owners to get loads of statistics about their visitors seems to have overshadowed any privacy and integrity concerns, instead trying to combine as many of them as possible to fill their Key Performance Indicators with content. This causes visitors unknowingly being tracked by scores of companies, creating extensive behavioral profiles of them when visiting just a few sites.

One of the problems with the tracking is that it’s largely unregulated, meaning that if a company can technically devise a measure to get the info, there’s no law prohibiting them from it as long as they state they’re using cookies on the site, stating the app permissions, or putting a line or two tucked away in the en user license agreement. Few Internet user even know that their data is collected and by whom. Even fewer know how to adjust their privacy settings on the social networks and in the browsers or apps they use.

So, question is: Who Watches Me?

Sources

  1. Technologyreview.com (11 trackers)
  2. BCG Perspectives (8 trackers)