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I'm Being Followed: How Google—and 104 Other Companies—Are Tracking Me on the Web - Alexis C. Madrigal

I'm Being Followed: How Google—and 104 Other Companies—Are Tracking Me on the Web - Alexis C. Madrigal
Who are these companies and what do they want from me? A voyage into the invisible business that funds the web. This morning, if you opened your browser and went to NYTimes.com, an amazing thing happened in the milliseconds between your click and when the news about North Korea and James Murdoch appeared on your screen. Data from this single visit was sent to 10 different companies, including Microsoft and Google subsidiaries, a gaggle of traffic-logging sites, and other, smaller ad firms. Nearly instantaneously, these companies can log your visit, place ads tailored for your eyes specifically, and add to the ever-growing online file about you. There's nothing necessarily sinister about this subterranean data exchange: this is, after all, the advertising ecosystem that supports free online content. Even if you're generally familiar with the idea of data collection for targeted advertising, the number and variety of these data collectors will probably astonish you.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/02/im-being-followed-how-google-151-and-104-other-companies-151-are-tracking-me-on-the-web/253758/

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