Data Tracking

Data tracking is the act of keeping records of web users history, by using software that will track and store all information that is found. Almost all major web companies do this, and it is not uncommon for there to be over ten trackers on a single web page.


One of the methods of tracking, is the use of cookies. Cookies are tiny text files, saved locally on a users hard drive by websites, which collect data about the users internet searches, habits, and interests.[1] Though cookies can be helpful, such as saving preference about a web site on the cookie. Unfortunately, these same cookies can also be used to discover information about a user, that that user may not wish to be disclosed. Other methods of tracking may include IP address tracking, Flash tracking, and Browser Fingerprinting.[2]


Data tracking is used for many different purposes, but the most common use of data tracking is advertising. Companies will monitor your web history, and attempt to sell you products based on your web browsing past. Companies such as Amazon will keep track of every item that you've viewed on their website, and recommend products that they believe you would consider buying, all based on the products that you've searched or viewed.


Many web users think that data tracking is an invasion of privacy, and that companies should not be allowed to track users.[3] Though it may be invasive, data tracking can be quite useful, for if a user is searching for restaurants to eat at,using Google, and the Google has recorded that the user enjoys eating at Chinese Buffets, then the user is more likely to find a result more applicable to them. This is the underlying technique used by companies to create a filter bubble.

Ethical Concerns

The main problem with data tracking, is that it is done without our consent, and once we have been tracked, our anonymity is at risk. Additionally, we do not know what those tracking are doing with our data. Sensitive data may be being used for unethical purposes, without our approval.


  1. Hormozi, A. M. (2005). Cookies and privacy. Information Systems Security, 13(6), 51-59. Retrieved from
  3. Regalado, A. (2012, Jul). High stakes in internet tracking. Technology Review, 115, 64. Retrieved from
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.