A fear has arisen in privacy groups that the search engines are going to access even more personal information. The basis of this fear is the announcement of Google to target internet advertisements according to what people look for on the web.
The advertisements on the websites will be displayed on the basis of interests of people. To check out the personal interests of visitors, Google will monitor the web pages visited by people. Yahoo and AOL are also using this kind of targeted ads.
According to Financial Times:
“Google hopes advertisers will pay more for these targeted adverts, an important move at a time when the growth of online advertising is slowing down. A small group of advertisers will start using the system next month.”
How Does This Technology Work
The working is simple:
- A person interested in web-development visits a relevant website.
- Now, if Google is displaying ads on the site, it will store a number e.g “48374” in his browser to remember her visit. It’s done by using cookies.
- Now, because the person visits many web-development related websites, so the number “48374” Â is used to recognize the person as: “Web-Development Enthusiast”.
- Now the user will see more of web-development related ads.
Controls Provided By Google
From Google side several controls have been provided to users like, they can:
- Change/Delete the information collected and compiled about them.
- They can switch off the monitoring permanently. Google says this option as “Opt Out”.
- The users themselves can add their interests in their profiles.
What Google Not Monitor
No information will be monitored related to:
- Sexual Orientation
- Financial Transactions
- Pornography etc.
What Google Wants From The Publishers
Google wants the website publishers to update their privacy policies which would warn users that their browsing habits may be monitored. The profiles of internet users can be checked at http://www.google.com/ads/preferences.
How Do Experts See This
Simon Davies, of Privacy International, told “Financial Times“: “The privacy threat from Google is growing by the day. It is now time for parliaments and regulators to launch a full investigation of the company.”
Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, added: “There will be a huge commercial pressure to use it for things it was not originally intended for.”