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Internet Profiling And Online Privacy


Internet Profiling - The collecting of information about Internet browsing activity inside an advertising network with the goal of creating a "profile" or representation of users' habits and interests is known as online profiling.

Online advertisers track millions of Internet users without their knowledge by putting cookies on their computers.

The contentious practice has sparked public outrage and become the subject of congressional hearings.

For some months, the Federal Trade Commission has been in talks with network advertisers and has just agreed to self-regulatory guidelines with the industry group that lead to the stablishment of the network advertising initiative, the first interner privacy initiative in the west.

But what is internet profiling, why is it used by businesses, and how might it jeopardize your data?

COPYRIGHT_MARX: Published on https://marxcommunications.com/internet-profiling/ by Keith Peterson on 2022-05-06T07:02:25.836Z

This article will provide you all of the information you need to make informed judgments about granting firms access to your data.

What Is Internet Profiling

The collecting of information about Internet browsing activity across thousands of commercial websites within an advertising network for the goal of creating a "profile" or representation of users' habits and interests is referred to as online profiling.

While firms and advertisers have historically profiled huge audiences based on demographics and other data, online profiling allows Internet companies to acquire data from people on a variety of private activities.

These profiles are created and used by online marketers or network advertisers for the goal of targeting banner adverts and displaying the ones that are most likely to catch the attention of Internet users.

While many of the marketers are focusing on banner ads for now, the profiles are likely to be utilized for additional marketing objectives in the future.

Some industry observers have also raised the possibility that thorough customer profiles may make them more vulnerable to discriminatory corporate practices like redlining.

Because of the widespread usage of cookies, which are little text files deposited on a computer by a website server, online profiling is feasible. Cookies are virtual bar codes that allow users to be identified on the Internet.

Cookies enable Internet advertising and first-party websites to build files on individual users because they enable persistent identification.

When a user views a banner advertising from a third-party advertiser, cookies are deposited on his or her computer, generally without the user's awareness. Information about user activity is gathered, evaluated, and retained from that moment on.

Network marketers, unlike first-party websites, have no contact with the Internet users they profile.

Most Internet users are unaware that third parties post banner adverts on many commercial websites, and that these third parties also gather information about their browsing habits.

Network marketers, unlike first-party websites, can collect data from a variety of diverse and unrelated websites.

For example, Amazon.com gathers extensive data on all of its customers, but it will be difficult for it to track what those consumers are doing on a different site.

This one business is reported to have profiled 100 million Internet users. Many other marketers operate in the same sector and have detailed profiles of millions of people.

Engage, a network marketer with 70 million profiles of its own, promises to be able to construct profiles with up to 800 different interest groups.

The capacity to acquire information on Internet users is primarily dependent on the ability to retain and use data effectively and efficiently.

Given the fast advancement of technology, there are few technological hurdles to more and unprecedented personal data collecting.

Six White Internet Cables Connected To a Router
Six White Internet Cables Connected To a Router

The Origins Of The Network Advertising Initiative - A Congressional Debate On Profiling

In July, the subject of online profiling was first brought to the attention of Congress during a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee.

When the public and media learned of the proposal to combine anonymous surfing data with comprehensive consumer profiles, they were outraged.

The public's resistance to the proposition grew stronger. DoubleClick is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. In California, a private litigant filed a lawsuit alleging breaches of the state constitution. Two state attorneys general have filed lawsuits.

One ONG filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on February 10 stating that the corporation had engaged in unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of the FTC Act.

According to the lawsuit, DoubleClick has begun to individually identify accounts that were supposed to remain anonymous. The corporation halted its attempt to integrate personal data with profiles on March 2.

Due to strong public resistance to online profiling, DoubleClick's plans were put on hold. According to a study performed by Business Week/Harris in early March, 35% of those asked were "not at all comfortable" with anonymous profiling and 28% were "not very comfortable."

When the profiles were linked to personally identifiable information like a name or address, as started by DoubleClick, 89 percent of respondents were either "not at all comfortable" or "not very comfortable."

Representatives from privacy and consumer groups were invited to a "mock-up" of the NAI principles on July 19 by officials from the FTC and the Department of Commerce. Any of the materials described were not allowed to be kept or distributed by privacy and consumer organizations.

On July 27, the Network Advertising Initiative11 finally made its self-regulatory principles public. These rules may govern how a highly contentious area of the Internet industry functions after months of talks with minimal public engagement or involvement.

There was no possibility for public comment at this period. While government officials maintain the talks aren't a formal rule-making process, the government agencies with the most authority over these businesses would have agreed to standards that were written, negotiated, and defined with minimal public input.

Male Hands writing and using google in a laptop over a brown table
Male Hands writing and using google in a laptop over a brown table

People Ask

What Does Mean Profiling?

Profiling is the act or process of extrapolating information about a person based on known traits or tendencies.

Also the act of accusing or targeting someone based on their physical appearance or conduct.

While internet profiling incorporate digital methods to create that consumer/client profile.

What Is Meant By Data Profiling?

The procedure generates a high-level overview that assists in the identification of data quality concerns, hazards, and overall trends. Data profiling provides key data insights that businesses may use to their advantage.

What Is The Internet Profile?

Collecting information on Internet users and their online behavior in order to develop a profile of their likes, interests, and spending patterns is known as online profiling.

Traditional demographic segmentation studies conducted by marketers have evolved into a more complex, efficient, and effective version of online profiling.

Your company may use online profiles to predict people's expected interests and possible purchasing demands, allowing your marketing and Web initiatives to capitalize on them.


Because there are no standards limiting these organizations' actions, network marketers are free to operate in any way they see fit.

Furthermore, online profiling marks a significant shift in the advertising sector, raising the question of whether network marketers should acquire personal data like names, postal addresses, and email addresses at all.

Network marketers are moving away from an advertising approach that focuses on giving product information and toward one that focuses on gathering personal data from consumers.

They are compromising customer privacy in the process and must be governed by stringent, enforceable privacy standards.

Strong rules and strong enforcement will encourage Internet advertising to embrace consumer privacy-friendly tactics and technology.

Advertising on the internet can be done anonymously, and businesses should be encouraged to do so.

If personal information is used for online profiling, enforceable Fair Information Practices should be followed, with a focus on complete access to the data obtained.

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About The Authors

Keith Peterson

Keith Peterson - I'm an expert IT marketing professional with over 10 years of experience in various Digital Marketing channels such as SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), SMO (social media optimization), ORM (online reputation management), PPC (Google Adwords, Bing Adwords), Lead Generation, Adwords campaign management, Blogging (Corporate and Personal), and so on. Web development and design are unquestionably another of my passions. In fast-paced, high-pressure environments, I excel as an SEO Executive, SEO Analyst, SR SEO Analyst, team leader, and digital marketing strategist, efficiently managing multiple projects, prioritizing and meeting tight deadlines, analyzing and solving problems.

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