What’s going on should be obvious but probably not because it isn’t really visible to us while we browse the interwebs or use various applications on our Macs and PCs, iPhones and iPads. Tracking is a huge industry and you are the product.
The most public culprit among the tracking businesses is Facebook, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to members of congress will not change what you cannot see. Tracking is pervasive. Yes, Facebook tracks their users, but Facebook also tracks those who do not use Facebook. Uh huh. They’re good at tracking.
Not only are you being tracked while you browse, most applications on your devices perform tracking, too. Much of that tracking data is bought and sold and shared by the trackers. You and your information are part of their business model.
How can you tell how much tracking is going on while you browse?
Check this GTmetrix performance benchmark. First, a recent page from Mac360.
The next one comes from Jason Snell’s popular Six Colors website on all things Apple.
Let’s look at one more. This one is an article by the Macalope in Macworld. Compare the stats to see the differences.
Tracking? Stalking is a better term and most websites and applications do it ad nauseam.
Wait. Applications? Yes. Apps on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad also phone home to deliver information to who knows whom or what. Some of the tracked information is useful to Apple and developers. Other information is gathered and sent to China, Russia, and who knows where else.
Who knows? You can find out. At least, you can find out some of where it goes by using Little Snitch on your Mac. Try it. You’ll see many apps use a phone home method to gather information from your Mac and send it off to be collecting and… God only knows.
Yes. Facebook tracks you online even if you don’t use Facebook. Apple tracks you, too, but has a better reputation for what it does with what it collects. As you can see in the examples above, websites track you. Apps track you.
What can you do?
Go off the grid. Or, watch. Or, ignore it all and let someone else influence your thinking.
Should such tracking be regulated? Authorities are starting to do just that in the E.U., but here in the good old U.S. of A. we often find ourselves behind the curve.