Simple. We click wit our mouse cursor on a link to a web page. Or with our finger on a mobile phone or tablet touchscreen. Whatever. We interact with the web. Anything we can assimilate to a “click”.
What happens next? Many things. Perhaps too many. Consider this image:
This is the ecosystem of companies that can be activated after clicking. Between us and an announcing company, there are many other companies: advertising agencies, user-tracking websites, supertargeted placement of ads, etc.
Our data flies and bounces from one website to another. Trackers, ad allocators and other sites receive information from our web cookies, our browsing history, the list of our friends, etc. etc. etc.
When we accept “terms and conditions” we leave our door open for others to negotiate with our intimacy. According to this research the average number of this type of sites that an Android app contacts is 500. The record was achieved by a innocent-looking volume equalization application: 2000 websites.
There is much talk of data transparency with respect to our right to access and understand the information that governments use in their decisions.
We should also think about what we can do and how to regulate who uses our data. That is, it should be transparent to us who is accessing them. Developing new user tools can be a way to help this.
Here is an example of Anne Helmond and Alexei Miagkov who again will organize this year the Summer School on Digital Methods which specializes in how to unveil and visualized lay who is tracking us.
And its always worthwhile to watch the enlightening documentary “Terms and Conditions May Apply.”