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Tracking the Trackers: Where Everybody Knows Your Username | Stanford Center for Internet and SocietyClick the local Home Depot ad and your email address gets handed to a dozen companies monitoring you. Your web browsing, past, present, and future, is now associated with your identity. Swap photos with friends on Photobucket and clue a couple dozen more into your username.
A new system will read emails to learn about what users are interested in and what their priorities are, based on "signals" such as what they receive the most email about, which emails they read and reply to, and the identity of their most regular contacts. Google's plan will make significantly more use of users' private data to target advertising on Gmail: until now, it has served up sponsored links based on the contents of individual emails, rather than a detailed, stored profile of the recipient. It also said that as a result of the new technology, it expects present fewer advertisments to Gmail users and that no emails or personally identifiable data would be shared with advertisers.
Update, 4/27/11 — Apple has posted a response to questions raised in this report and others. By Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden Today at Where 2.0 Pete Warden and I will announce the discovery that your iPhone, and your 3G iPad, is regularly recording the position of your device into a hidden file.
Apple has been in hot water for the past week or so after it was discovered that iOS devices are tracking users as they move about, and storing location data.