They are watching you


Kalle Evjen '23

Modern technology companies are invading your privacy to sell you products.

After finishing a conversation with a buddy about shoes, their computer was immediately flooded with advertisements of that same shoe. With personalized advertisements it’s almost as if there is little to no privacy at all.
Personalization of advertising is the act of using insights into who a customer might be to increase the relevancy of an ad. The advantage from a company offering personalized advertisements helps gain traction and knowledge of what the customer appreciates so that the advertiser could offer them a tailored experience.
But these personalized advertisements become harmful when they become targeted advertisements. Targeted advertisements benefit the marketer’s needs while personalized advertisements benefit the consumers’ needs. When the advertisements begin to target personal information with a stronger intimate meaning it focuses rather on private data, for example data on finances, health-care, and gender which is highly sensitive to the consumer. Consumers can become vulnerable to isolated advertisements in a way that they’re being exposed to a limited personalization.
This idea can be very dangerous to the public. There is a difference in advertising that marks a point between personalization and privacy. Digital and personalization advertisements mark a huge advantage for the company, while most customers deserve more transparency in the advertisements they receive.
Personalized advertisements have a higher click through rate at 71% rather than any other advertisements. A study from Adlucent, a digital marketing company, claimed that seven out of ten people actually prefer personalized advertisements. This information offers an idea of the likeness of the advertisements, however it is dangerous when people aren’t able to recognize when the advertisements are being targeted more than personalized.
In order for personalization of advertisements to be safe, companies need to be subject to laws to regulate what information they can collect from their customers, and products should be advertised without collecting dangerously personal data from them.
There are several ways you can protect yourself in the meantime. Limit GPS Tracking, stop apps from tracking you and the data on your phone, try a more private browser, or maybe even delete alexa recordings from your system. Though optional, these are some ways to be able to disable yourself from receiving targeted or even personalized advertisements.