I’m not actually a gambling type, but I think I’d be save betting that the above statement is true for the overwhelming majority of people using the Internet today. An article about online tracking on the CompuerWorld site is one that you should read if you have any illusions about having privacy online.
Summing it up simply, advertising networks and websites track people. It’s a major part of their business to do it. They spend a lot of time and lawyer money to work out ways to say they won’t and then get away with doing it anyway and it’s not just tracking. This also involves them collecting and sharing information about as many people as possible. Again they spend a lot of time and lawyer money coming up with ways to say how little they do and yet manage to do SO much more than they claim, keeping and
sharing selling data far longer and with more people & companies than they’re willing to admit to.
As I implied, there ARE plenty of people that have an idea how much tracking and data mining is going on and have actually worked out ways to keep from being tracked, but these people are comparatively rare…. (Think hen’s teeth).
As a starting point, get a Usenet news reader and start reading in alt.privacy and alt.privacy.spyware just to get started.
[Xnews is perhaps the best one around and it’s free and find out from your ISP what your Usenet news feed address is or if they don’t carry Usenet, check out TeraNews, it’s a $3.95 signup fee and is free forever after]
*Note* If you’re new to Usenet I advise reading for a week or to to get an idea of the proper etiquette for posting. Also, DON’T use “Google Groups”! People posting to Usenet from Google Groups are widely ignored or flamed because most of what is posted from GG is … well, more trouble than it’s worth.