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Do you get the feeling someone is watching you?

I’ve had a funny feeling recently as I’ve pottered around the internet. 

Adverts around the edges of pages I’m viewing seem a little, well, familiar.

A lampshade I’m sure I looked at yesterday, a pair of boots I clicked through to have a look at from an email, something I bought online…

It’s almost as if someone is tracking what I look at and then using it to track me around the internet.

Which doesn’t feel right when it’s done on a computer that I’m fairly certain has all the state of the art thingamywhatsits to stop that sort of stuff.

Looking around it appears that Google has taken it’s advertising one step further and is now able to use cookies to track whatever and whenever we click on the internet and then use it to target the adverts we see.  Which would be fine but I don’t really need to see another picture of something I’ve already bought and then there’s the worry about how much of this data is being kept and ultimately what it could be used for.

It turns out that you can download a thingy to opt out but even so this feels a bit like the whole privacy tweaks that Facebook keep putting in that really just seem to tone down your privacy settings.
I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this – it feels a little bit too much as if Big Brother is tracking me around the internet and checking on what I’m doing.

Am I being unreasonable?  Is this the next big thing or is it just a touch too intrusive?

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14 comments to Do you get the feeling someone is watching you?

  • It is getting a bit weird but I’ve always just assumed that everything I do online is basically visible to the whole world. Lucky I don’t have any freaky habits!

  • Kez Heath @heathworld

    Funny you should blog about this as today I received an email from John Lewis. The email told me I recently looked at furniture on their website and did I know it was in stock? It really is an incredibly clumsy way of trying to get you to buy. Little do they realise no amount of emailing, calling or reminding me will encourage me to buy from anyone. I’m the sort of person who actively avoids shop assistants or sales people who physically approach me. I am comfortable with it so long as we have the ability to avoid it or opt out but I agree it is quite intrusive and as this technology is only in its infancy I’m sure it is going to get a whole lot worse.

  • I thought I was being stalked! Thank you Mudder-ling.
    The stalked shall turn stalker when I see you next weekend.

    LCM x

  • Angela

    Yeap targeted advertising. I needed to hire a skip and low and behold everywhere I look my page is full of skip advertising – do I want to keep looking at pictures of skips? NO! I think we have to realise that if you use the web and whatever you put on it is there for the taking.

  • I find it infuriating that everytime I look at kids clothes on a site they suddenly seem to appear on the sidebar of my hotmail account, flashing, taunting before my eyes!

    I am intrigued as to which sites have signed up for this, hopefully I won’t lend someone my laptop to check their emails for them to see a scrolling list of sex toys that I may have once looked at (for research purposes).

  • I kind of gave up any idea of privacy when I moved to London. I mean, CCTV on every street corner, 24/7, seriously? Who needs Big Brother when all of us are on tape for most of our lives anyway?
    You can switch on ‘private browsing’ on a Mac to decrease the amount of footprints you leave over the web. It helps.

  • Annicles

    I got an email from amazon today with offers of an item I had been looking at a few weeks ago. I think the thing to remember is that all those cookies have always been “out there”. This is just a manifestation that makes it much more personal and obvious. Which is not to say I like it. I don’t. At all.

    • It’s one thing knowing that they are there and an entirely different one seeing them following you around – guess I just need to clear cookies more often (am being followed by the same pair of boots for weeks now)

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