Every time I log on to my computer, I’m terrified. I searched for an STI clinic recently after a risqué Saturday night last week, and now all of the ads on the sidebar of my browser are advertising for related clinics and treatments. It’s my family’s home desktop and I’ve already had to do a lot explaining to my parents.
How does this happen, Meryl? Is the internet stalking me!? I hate being afraid of browsing, every time I need to look up an issue that is even remotely sensitive. How does the internet know about my deepest secrets?
Please send help!
Stalked in Saratoga
Dear Stalked in Saratoga,
I’m very sorry about your STI scare or your STI reality. Neither are pleasant. The truth is that third party websites are gathering your information constantly as you peruse the internet. Advertising and marketing agencies pay top dollar for your information and cookies data in order to cater advertising directly to you based on your search criteria and URLs which you visit. Hence your misfortune with your previous searches on the family desktop.
Try downloading Lightbeam on your Firefox browser and you may be surprised. Lightbeam tracks third party websites which are accessing your information when you visit websites and turns this data into comprehensive visuals which illustrate the extent to which your information is shared. You’ll be shocked, I assure you.
Next time you have a sensitive issue to search that you don’t want your family to necessarily know about, try entering incognito mode on your browser so your information won’t be tracked, or try installing adware that will disable third-party cookies from accessing your information. This way you won’t feel as if the internet is stalking you and spreading your secrets to the public at large!