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to think the internet is spying on me!

(44 Posts)
frogspoon Wed 07-Aug-13 09:16:57

I recently went on holiday, and ever since looking up the destination, researching it and booking it through their website, and a large proportion of adverts I seem to find on any website (including mumsnet) has been an advert for where I just went on holiday!

On getting back I started hypothetically researching what a holiday to another destination would cost. Now all the adverts that pop up are for this other destination! Just a coincidence, or is the internet actually spying on me?

Justforlaughs Wed 07-Aug-13 09:19:26

I can do better than that OP, my mumsnet page keeps advertising "Phase Eight", where I love shopping! But I've never looked at/ bought from them online, soooo... how do they know? [spooky emoticon] wink

Jewelledkaleidoscope Wed 07-Aug-13 09:20:55

They have trackers. They are spying on you!

Lj8893 Wed 07-Aug-13 09:21:31

It's cookies. Basically the Internet uses cookies which means they can look at your Internet history which means they can tailor you adverts.

That's a really rubbish way of explaining it!

SummerHoliDidi Wed 07-Aug-13 09:22:35

I think the internet does spy on us. Whenever I click on an odd link on mn I then get adverts for similar stuff down the sides of a lot of websites. It's weird.

AMumInScotland Wed 07-Aug-13 09:23:19

The internet is actually spying on you. Lots of websites use cookies - some of them are very innocent little things that hold your login details or your preferences between visits, but lots are actually from advertisers and are storing your browsing history from one website to another.

If you clear out all your cookies regularly, you can reduce it, but they will just put on a new one and start again. Oh and they can hold your information on a database on their own server, so it isn't always even a cookie.

Apparently this is all to "help" us by tailoring the adverts we get shown. I could do without that kind of help personally...

AMumInScotland Wed 07-Aug-13 09:24:55

Websites based on Europe are now meant to be more open about what cookies they are storing, what they are for, and to get "explicit consent" from you to do it. But most have not really bothered to fix their sites yet to comply. And sites based in other areas don't have to follow those rules.

frogspoon Wed 07-Aug-13 09:27:29

Well, I've had a look, and apparently I have almost 5000 cookies on my computer. Most seem to be for websites I've never heard of. I can delete them, but I might get logged out of mumsnet and I'm not sure if i'll remember my password.

Ah well, here goes...

Jewelledkaleidoscope Wed 07-Aug-13 09:27:57

I have a plug in on chrome that stood it- it's called 'do not track me'

Jewelledkaleidoscope Wed 07-Aug-13 09:28:22


AMumInScotland Wed 07-Aug-13 09:31:29

Mumsnet can always send you a new password, as long as you have access to your email!

MrsHowardRoark Wed 07-Aug-13 09:35:44

I used to work for an Internet company and we could track users click for click across the site.

It's used to redesign sites so that they work better and maximise revenues.

A huge amount of effort goes into spying on you, you should be flattered wink

Branleuse Wed 07-Aug-13 09:40:16

well yes, its data mining and targeted advertising.

frogspoon Wed 07-Aug-13 09:42:09

Well, I did delete all my cookies, and blocked new ones, and I even managed to reset and log back into mumsnet

Except mumsnet didn't work properly until I unblocked the cookies.

I have been on one website (mums net) for about a minute, and I have already accumulated 26 new cookies!

magimedi Wed 07-Aug-13 09:47:28

I have my computer set so that all cookies are cleared every time I go off line.

AMumInScotland Wed 07-Aug-13 09:49:39

The tricky thing is that a site like Mumsnet uses cookies to keep you logged in, which is vital to use the site, but it also uses advertising cookies - "Advertising networks may also use cookies to allow them to serve advertisements that they believe are relevant to you and your interests, based on your activity on our site and others." - from their cookies policy.

Personally, I really don't like it, as it means we don't have any choice. OTOH they are paid for by advertisers so it' hard to really complain about them using a mainstream and acceptable mechanism for doing that.

I just delete my existing cookies very frequently, so that I am less useful to the advertisers as a source of tracking information!

comingalongnicely Wed 07-Aug-13 10:11:14

A while ago it was discovered that some of the cheaper airline sites were "upping" the cost every time you looked at a flight. So the first time you look you get £60, the cookies are stored & the next time you look it goes up to £70 ('cos they know you're interested in that flight) - not sure if they got their wrists slapped for it, but you can get round it by changing some of the settings on your browser in regards to keeping cookies....

livinginwonderland Wed 07-Aug-13 11:48:52

I just block adverts!

AnnabelleLee Wed 07-Aug-13 11:54:24

You know in the last few months, there is a banner or a message on almost every website that says "accept cookies" or "this site uses cookies, please click here for more info"?
You know the ones, you don't read it you just click ok? Well that is there to tell you precisely how and why they are all "spying" on you.

frogspoon Wed 07-Aug-13 12:12:05

You know in the last few months, there is a banner or a message on almost every website that says "accept cookies" or "this site uses cookies, please click here for more info"?
You know the ones, you don't read it you just click ok? Well that is there to tell you precisely how and why they are all "spying" on you.

Yes, mumsnet may have notified me that it is using cookies.

But,,,, and the the other 28 websites that have stored cookies on my computer within the last 5 minutes did not!

My browser (safari) has a block cookies from third parties and advertisers, and an ask websites not to track me option. Both are selected, apparently they don't work very well!

The thing I dislike, as AMumInScotland has said, is that we have no choice. Facebook, mumsnet, twitter and hundreds of other websites will not work properly with cookies switched off. We have no option but to allow these and hundred of other third party websites to spy on us.

AnnabelleLee Wed 07-Aug-13 12:19:20

You can switch off all but the essential ones, and that includes the ones that target adverts at you.
Look it up. You do have choices, its up to you to find them and use them.

There are always options. You just don't know about them.

BatwingsAndButterflies Wed 07-Aug-13 12:27:12

I use google chrome for my browser and its really good, I have added adblock and DoNotTrackMe and that stops me from seeing any adverts as well as clearing all my cookies regularly.

LazyFaire Wed 07-Aug-13 12:28:04

My special favourite was the targeted facebook ad suggesting I might want to buy sperm from celebrities to impregnate myself with. I promise I have never visited any site that had anything to do with buying sperm, being artificially made pregnant, and very few that have anything to do with slebs!

hmm angry hmm I gave the facebook page in question a piece of my mind then blocked it!

You could get one of those Kitten-y (or boring) adblockers.

meganorks Wed 07-Aug-13 12:31:37

They are spying on you. I get followed round by all sorts of things I've looked at.
Most annoying was when looking for a house. We put an offer in on a house but we were concerned about price. Our survey confirmed fears so all fell through. But every time went online rightmove ads popped up with the house!

AMumInScotland Wed 07-Aug-13 13:12:54

AnnabelleLee Thanks for the nudge - I have now had a dig around in my browser settings and limited myself to First Party cookies while blocking Third Party ones. I hadn't looked deep enough in my options to realise it was that granular.

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