To make any real progress in advancing data privacy this year, we have to start doing something about Google and Facebook. Not doing so would be like trying to lose weight without changing your diet. Simply ineffective.
The impact these two companies have on our privacy cannot be understated. You may know that hidden trackers lurk on most websites you visit, soaking up your personal information.
What you may not realize, though, is 76 percent of websites now contain hidden Google trackers, and 24 percent have hidden Facebook trackers, according to the Princeton Web Transparency & Accountability Project. The next highest is Twitter with 12 percent. It is likely that Google or Facebook are watching you on many sites you visit, in addition to tracking you when using their products.
As a result, these two companies have amassed huge data profiles on each person, which can include your interests, purchases, search, browsing and location history, and much more. They then make your sensitive data profile available for invasive targeted advertising that can follow you around the Internet.
This advertising system is designed to enable hyper-targeting, which has many unintended consequences, such as the ability for bad actors to use the system to influence the most susceptible or to exclude groups in a way that facilitates discrimination.
"These two companies have amassed huge data profiles on each person, which can include your interests, purchases, search, browsing and location history, and much more."