Apple faces a difficult challenge with user privacy and security. Sure, every few weeks or months we Mac, iPhone, and iPad users get update which improve performance and plug a few security holes here and there, but Apple could do much more to prevent online stalkers.
No, I’m not writing about the social media stalkers who target Facebook users, but that’s a serious issue as well. This is a somewhat more hidden stalking but once you see it, you’ll note how prevalent it has become.
Advertisers are stalking you while you’re online and Apple aides their efforts.
Second, behind the scenes, advertisers and data trackers exchange information about usage emanating from specific users and IP addresses. That data is sliced and diced many times over, and some trackers build a profile about your specific online habits that is then matched up with other information.
In other words, they know who you are, where you live, how much money your household makes, how you’re likely to spend money, where you’re likely to travel, and far more than you realize anyone outside of a family member could know about you.
What do they do with that information?
Here’s a good way to test what goes on. Go to Google and search for a specific product or service. Search again and again using slightly different keywords, and click on a few of the search results Google’s search engine displays.
Then, do the same thing elsewhere. Amazon is a good place to start, but you can do it on Walmart, Target, B and H Photo, or anywhere you search for items while online. But only search for two to four items; same items, different brands are OK. Do this a few times a day for a few days.
Over the course of the next few weeks, as you visit other websites here and there, you’ll begin to see advertisements for those products you search for earlier. What you searched for, what you read online, and which websites you visited, caused your actions to be harvested by advertisers and data trackers. Behind the scenes, untouched by human hands, that data was exchanged between various business entities who collect data about individuals, and information about you was moved to other advertisers who began to track you; hence the new ads to remind you about previous searches. Notice the “You May Like” or the “Recommended For You” links at the bottom of many website pages. “Tracking: is a better term.
You’re being stalked. There’s no other way to put it.
Why does Apple allow such tracking? Money. Apple could provide more options, including built-in advertising and tracker blockers, but the company perhaps a billion dollars each year from Google to be the default search engine in Safari (and Safari is the second most used browser on earth). Money talks.
For my part, I eliminated advertising tracker early last year, deleted tracking cookies, and dropped analytics trackers. No cookies and no trackers on NoodleMac.
Trackers do not benefit website visitors.