Sunday October 23, 2016

Google Quietly Drops Ban On Personally Identifiable Web Tracking

While you can still opt out of this stuff, Google has made some changes where web browsing records from other owned services (namely DoubleClick) could be integrated into your account. This means your browsing habits, interests, etc., would be paired with your name and other personal information, making it easy for the company to get an extensive profile of you.

The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct. The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.