How bad has privacy become on the World Wide Web? Really bad, a new audit shows.
At least 87 percent of the world’s most-popular Web domains engage in some form of digital tracking without you ever signing in, according to investigative journalism nonprofit the Markup. Many, it found, even covertly record the way you move your mouse or type. This is the hidden tech that lets companies learn who you are, what you like and even the secrets you look at online so they can tailor what you see, make ads follow you around — or even sell your information to others.
In a world that is defined by the generation and collection of data by technology and communications companies, personal information—including where people go, with whom they associate, what they purchase, and what they read, listen to, and even eat—it is quite a simple task to create a detailed profile of an individual based solely on the data captured in his or her phone.
Facebook has warned that it may pull out of Europe if the Irish data protection commissioner enforces a ban on sharing data with the US, after a landmark ruling by the European court of justice found in July that there were insufficient safeguards against snooping by US intelligence agencies.
Lacking a powerful technology sector of its own, the European Union has instead tried to carve out a space in the digital economy as the world’s regulatory superpower, leading the charge on privacy rights and data protection by leveraging its enormous single market against Goliaths like Google and Facebook.
China will write the rules of the Internet unless the United States and its allies counter Beijing’s efforts at mass surveillance and censorship, according to a report released Tuesday by the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.