Blog 8

After installing browser extensions to my browser. I learned a lot more about how much information is open to the public. I to be honest was shocked by the results I got back from the extensions. I was unaware of how much tracking goes on at the individual level online. Now after this exercise, I am aware of how these companies market their products to specific clientele. I also am aware now how when I search things on google how they appear on my recommend items shortly after. 

I believe this collection method impedes on our privacy rights as the consumer because these companies don’t make us aware that they are tracking us besides in the fine print which is very hard to read. 

The extensions I used were Duckduckgo and ghostery. I found both of these extensions very interesting because they allowed me to see what tracking devices they have on me at all times while ghostery also blocks all of the ads from the website which gives you a much different view on sites that rely heavily on advertisement. These extensions opened up a new view of the internet for me. In the past, I have kind of become accustomed to a bunch of ads being included on the sites I searched and never really realized the quantity of these ads. Now, I realize how crazy many ads there actually are by using these extensions. This is even with my ad blocker software which does not allow ads to pop up on my computer. I believe these extensions really change the internet and I will definitely continue using them in the future. I would also like to do some outside research on more extensions to see what other extensions are capable of doing.  

For the two websites I would like to explore for my assignment are Facebook and Amazon. I chose these two websites because they are giants in their respective fields and both have large back end infrastructure. For Facebook I found it very interesting how they track their data. I was completely unaware that Facebook had the ability to track my web searches and even allowed websites to use cookies on their sites to track the flow of traffic to their site and what kind of customers they are. I have had a Facebook for awhile now and use it somewhat frequently to stay connected. I always wondered how they were so spot on with my interests both socially and materialistically. For example, I would be looking at Nike tennis shoes on the internet trying to find a new pair of gym shoes. I wouldn’t find anything and would give up on looking. Then the next time I log into Facebook there is a recommended product section with a bunch of Nike tennis shoes. This led to me finding the pair I wanted and I even was able to click the link on Facebook and check out right away. Amazon interests me in a similar way. Amazon is a giant online retail store essentially so their concept is to connect their products with consumers online. This takes extensive research and a lot of information. While using my extensions I found Amazon trackers popped up a lot. After this, I looked up amazon and their tracking methods and found that AWS is one of the most in depth tracking and information gather out there. They gather so much information from consumer to allow them to have and keep the upper hand in the online retail business.