We must have all seen it. Make any search online, and pretty soon those pop-up advertisements will appear on your email sidebars, or on other websites that you frequent. You will likely receive emails from suppliers of those products too, as well as all those ‘buying suggestions’ from the likes of Amazon.
There has been a lot of discussion about the topic of Internet Privacy recently. I think it is safe to assume that there has never been any. The ubiquitous ‘Cookies’ know their stuff, and everything we do is tracked, down to the most obscure search. Have a look at your Spam folder on WordPress, for example. When I bought some toys for our grandson, the Spam started to include offers for things like stair gates. After I searched online for wood stain to be used on exterior woodwork, I received many Spam emails about new fencing, garden gates, and spray-painting devices.
I suppose it comes down to the old adage that if you are doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to fear. The problem is, what is considered to be wrong? When I do research on ISIS or other organisations for a blog post, does that flag me as a terrorist suspect? If I look into the rise of Nazi Germany to get background for a short story, do I become associated with the Far Right? Once we log on to our computers, write emails, blog posts, or do any Internet searches at all, we open up the inner workings of our minds to anyone who cares to look, or to buy that information from others.
Some people believe that by using complicated software, they can conceal their activities from the ‘seekers’. They also use non-Microsoft platforms, and never use search engines like Google. They have ‘encrypted’ emails, and even go so far as to subscribe to redirected servers, in the hope of hiding their location. Trouble is, we all need one basic tool to access the Web. A phone line. Once you plug that into the back of your router, you have no control over what is monitored on it.
So, stop worrying about it, I suppose. It is intrusive, it can be annoying, and not unlike someone being able to have installed an implant in your head. The only way to avoid it is to unplug your computer, and throw it away. And it doesn’t seem likely that we are going to do that, does it?