Internet Tracking: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Have you ever been talking to a friend about a new product you want to get or a new book you’ve been reading and then within five minutes, you see an advertisement with the same product pop up on your social media feed? We’ve all been there—and yes it’s true, we’re being tracked.


Internet tracking is standard practice for any internet-connected device or web browser. It allows websites to see how we’re engaging with their content in order to improve the consumer experience. Websites can then use our data to target us with products, services and content that we’re interested in.


Though this doesn’t mean our data is at risk, it would help to know why and how we’re being tracked, wouldn’t it?


So why are we tracked? Websites track us for a number of reasons, including:


  • To measure business performance: Businesses use their website analytics to inform future products and content strategy based on what their customers engage with most

  • To monitor a website’s usability: Businesses can also monitor engagement to inform overall usability that can inform them to make any changes to improve the user experience

  • To create revenue streams: Businesses can sell your data to advertising companies so those companies can target you with products of interest

  • To help aid law enforcement: Some law enforcement use online behaviors to their advantage by spying on individuals in question

Now that we understand the why, how are these websites doing it and is there a way to prevent it and protect our data if we choose? The below infographic from Norton highlights the good, the bad and the ugly of internet tracking, how we’re tracked and 11 tips on how to cover your digital tracks. Protect your online safety with these tips so you can browse in peace.