Metadata and You… Where your footprints go
Metadata, friend or foe?
So it seems like no matter what you do, somehow someone, somewhere, is going to know fine details about yourself that maybe your own parents do not know. All of this information is being collected through our metadata and begin organized into some place we are unaware of. By just one lousy call on our cell phone, they can gather time, duration, location, serial number, and even the phone number of everybody who has called. I use “they” lightly because I’m not sure I know who is collecting it all… maybe the government?
Basically anything we are doing on any technological device, we are leaving some sort of digital footprint which is quite exhausting for those who want to keep a limited online presence. I do not like the idea that no matter what site I visit on the web, a piece of me is left there. I especially do not like it when I click a bad link on Google, and it ends up being a spam site and all of a sudden I am bombarded by spam. It was like the woman who looked up information about multiple sclerosis and then received an invite from an organization assuming she had it based on her search history. Not only could that hurt her if she wanted life insurance, but how creepy is it that some company out there is selling your search history to companies? It is like the world is becoming a never ending advertisement.
I feel like the whole web is working together to pressure me into buying products I do not want, or making me visit websites based on how high their analytics are. It is because of them and a process called anchor text that make unwanted and non-helpful sites be the top links during my Google search… because those sites are paying the most for advertising and then by people clicking on them first, they get more traffic on their page pushing them naturally to the top of the search. I do use Google as my primary search engine, because I find more relevant URLs that way as opposed to other ones.
I think it really stinks that the main goal of everyone and every business is to make money. I feel as though they do not care about people as people anymore and we are stuck as guinea pigs to a new way to push products in our face no matter where we are at. My own conspiracy is that they are tracking what we do through our analog and digital media so they can trick us into doing what is helpful for them. With the Boston bombers, they easily found their pictures to share with the world. Who knows what they have on us and what they might assume we are doing? If I am doing research on bombers let’s say, and I look up how to make a bomb as a test to see how easy it is for people to find on the web, some government official could see that and use it as an excuse to spy on me or take me into questioning for suspicious behavior on the web. Granted, I would not look up anything that I think would get me in trouble with the law, but I honestly do not know what would count as suspicious or not. I think they would find any excuse to look at all my media to see what I am saying.
I do not think all of it is a bad idea however. I generally search for the same thing, so I do not mind seeing advertisements geared towards what I am already looking at. I do find it more annoying than creepy when I see a link to a website I just visited, because chances are I do not want to visit it again. I rarely get coupons that I could use, so I am on the look-out for those when I am visiting websites to see what company is trying to target me. I still find it hard to hit accept to the outlets that say they are looking at all this personal information of mine and they would like my permission to do so if I want to use their services (aps for my Twitter especially). I wish I could have some disclosure that my information is safe on the web, but I have to accept the fact that it most likely is not. So government, if you are reading this now, please at least send me a cookie for all the snooping you are doing on me…