The Wall Street Journal is running a series, “What They Know,” this week on Web privacy.
What caught my eye was today’s article on Web analytics, “On the Web's Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only.” A quote from the article, “firms like [x+1] tap into vast databases of people's online behavior—mainly gathered surreptitiously by tracking technologies that have become ubiquitous on websites across the Internet. They don't have people's names, but cross-reference that data with records of home ownership, family income, marital status and favorite restaurants, among other things. Then, using statistical analysis, they start to make assumptions about the proclivities of individual Web surfers.”
This is a broad service, capturing information across most sites on the Web versus individual site behavior capture by the likes of Amazon, etc. Definitely worth a read if you missed it. Also check out the article, “How to Avoid the Prying Eyes” and consider implementing the recommendations.