You’ve been handled by your computer

You’ve been handled by your computer

Do you like cookies? These lines of code – for example MC2: UID = 7daa554691bd4 f9089dc9d92e5cdadf3 – posted in your browser by the websites you visit that allow advertisers to send you targeted advertisements.

Managed by expert companies who file the data, classify, analyze and aggregate them before selling them: they do get your identity, follow you from site to site, remember your passwords, help you to manage your online purchases …

Because the goal is clear: you “profile” thus generating custom files are stored in databases. This is meant to get to know you better to present you the right advertising message at the right time and in the right format. You can delete cookies, but new ones will arrive as soon as you go surfing the net again. And if you block them, most sites no longer work. Some cookies can last very long: those designed by Amazon today are designed to last until 2037.

To refine the targeting, advertising cookies are compared with other data collected on the Internet: your IP address (Internet Protocol that identifies and locates your computer), your preferred language, your search engine, the type of computer and browser you are using … If you have filed in some personal data – by making a purchase or completing a questionnaire – they will also be used. Internet data can also be compared with real-world data such as your credit card statements, purchasing tickets, location data from your phone …

Such refine targeting can also imply changing the price of a product according to the profile. When a travel site shows you just saw a price comparison, it lowers its prices to match those of its competitors, still catching up on “fees”. If you connect a computer to €3,900, the site will display more expensive than if you use a laptop to € 300 hotel rooms. The consumer choice, apparently ten times the power of the computer actually seems diminished. The digital man has agreed to be dominated by machines for the sole purpose to have less tiring shopping times…

So we let technologies shape us, but we have not yet created the intellectual tools to help us understand what is happening to us.

This targeted advertising market continues to evolve: the new fad is about predictive analysis: instead of reacting to users’ behavior, advertisers want to push ahead the information sought. To do this, use the learning machine, a branch of artificial intelligence. This is to develop for computers the ability to optimize their performance without humans’ intervention. For example, the program detects a less dense internet tragic than usual at the end of the day in a big city, deduces traffic jams that keeps people returning home to surf on the web and thus adapts the commercials aired .

Predictive analytics is growing and new businesses are created to facilitate the migration of these new skills to traditional industries. In France , the company Dataiku developed a software suite that will allow workers without sharp computer training to manage databases and predictive analytics: “Our potential customers says Douetteau Florian, head of Dataiku are industrial companies which do nothing with their stored data, and want to use to solve problems in innovative ways . ”

In response, Melanie Swan, a creative Californian start-up company owner found that many users are beginning to have self-defense strategies: “They scatter their data on multiple sites – their photos with a service, their e-mails with in another one, their requests in a third system – hoping that none of these companies can establish their complete profile. They feel that something is wrong, but remain powerless. This could change. ”

The best way to ensure that your personal data are not tracked is to use a VPN service. Le VPN reduces your online movements by replacing your routing information through an anonymous IP address, thus avoiding any geolocation, whether on your computer or mobile device. Le VPN secure DNS servers keep secret the queries you make, so that no one can see your browsing history. In addition, your Internet connection is encrypted with a very strong system that protects you from hackers and illegal ears trying to listen and obtain sensitive information about you. Your Internet connection is hidden behind the numerous Le VPN servers: when you are connected to Le VPN, no one can access your computer or your mobile device without using Le VPN protected servers.

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