Even though you are sitting passively at your keyboard, studying information on your screen, no matter what the site, the web is relentlessly pushing the hard sell. I blog and post on news sites in 30 states and it is eerie when ads appear from Charleston, SC, my hometown, when I am online at a site for St. Cloud, MN or Yuma, AZ. How do they know? How do they follow me?
That question has a backstory far bigger than my private sense of dread. It points to a technological capacity that seeks to appear benign, but has a doomsday efficiency that can corral our fate. I have long since turned off my cookies, rejecting each request manually, but it makes no difference.
Whatever the high tech involved in this marketing tool, it clearly, definitely has the potential to be something more. Who is determining what that something is? Who makes the decisions to inflict its capacity to track us? And who is deciding exactly how far “it” can go?