It’s long been known that spying goes on in the Internet, but the main culprits in this list of those who are notorious at spying may surprise you. You would think Google, Yahoo! or Bing would be one of the biggest offenders, but in reality, they don’t rank anywhere near—Dictionary.com. That’s right, dictionary.com. A source to help you further your vocabulary or find a word you’re unsure of—and an avenue for Internet spying to take place.
Next on the list is Merriam-webster.com. I think this means you’re not supposed to further your vocabulary. The first of the Big 3 that show is Yahoo! followed by Bing, then Google. You would think it’s the complete opposite, but the proof is in the research. If you go to the Dictionary or Merriam-Webster sites, you’ll see an abnormal amount of pop-ups, slow website navigation, ads that are geared toward your search history, etc. It’s a scary thing to say the least. Big Brother is watching you, but you really can’t do anything about it.
Spying from businesses isn’t anything new, and the traditional definition of the word suggests some illegal activity. The plight in this situation is that it’s perfectly “legal”. Of course there are gray areas, but “beacons” are nothing more than a marketing tool used by some to see what it is you’re looking for.
There are companies that pay for services like this and it’s not right, to say the least—at least for people like me who like to be left alone. Advertising and marketing is truly a billion dollar industry and there is a lot of “spying” going on with little to no consequences. So, yes, people are watching you on the Internet and selling your goods to the people who are paying for them.
It’s a vicious cycle, but there really is no way to combat that unless we stop surfing the Internet. At least you have the confidence to know that Google isn’t the number one offender in this case. Facebook doesn’t even come up high on it either. You can see a list of the biggest offenders here.
Be careful where you go and make sure your filters are set the way you want them. It’s not an end-all solution, but it does help.