Big Brother’s corporate doppelgangers are watching

This staff and wire article from Monday’s Inland Valley Daily Bulletin is worth your time, if you care at all about companies accessing your private browser data.

Dozens
of websites have been secretly harvesting lists of places that their
users previously visited online, everything from news articles to bank
sites to pornography, a team of computer scientists recently found.

The information is valuable for con artists to learn more about
their targets and send them personalized attacks. But even more so, it
allows e-commerce companies to adjust ads or prices – for instance, if
the site knows you’ve just come from a competitor that is offering a
lower price.

“Advertising companies and other information-service providers
have developed more tools that can even follow you around the Web,”
said Geoffrey Herrera, an associate professor of political studies at
Pitzer College in Claremont.

Although passwords aren’t at risk, in harvesting a detailed
list of where you’ve been online, sites can create thorough profiles on
their users.

This is the future of advertising, experts said.