Is your Search History really yours?

Up till now, most people have happily used the Ostrich technique of regarding the fact that we leave digital trails. Trails that could show others what we have been up to and what we have a (vested) interest in. We are all very aware that these trails exist, that we leave them at a variety of places and that they might influence what is shown to us in targeted advertising. In itself, this is why big ‘Free’ services don’t actually charge us a subscription fee and we seem to be happy with that arrangement. You can use the service like Google, Facebook, Twitter and the likes, but they can use you data and they will. There still seems to be an illusion surrounding these ‘Free’ services as many people choose to believe and hold on to their believes that free is really free. That all those people working there get a good salary out of the pocket of somebody else that has so much that he/she wants nothing in return. That all those thousands and thousands of computers and data centres are free, that they just miraculously appeared out of nowhere, that no one needed to be paid for them and that all the energy and data that they use are there .. just like that, no bills, nothing.

Wake up people, be realistic about things you come across.

Does your search history pay for this?

The simple answer tho that is Yes. Wel, that is one of the ways you pay for it anyway. Whatever you’ve looked from in Google, Bing or Yahoo will stay with them, probably until the end of time (which in Internet terms might be about 10 years, but who knows, right). They will use it for the targeted advertising and who knows what else. This all was a long time coming but what we should be aware of is that each things by itself might not be the biggest issue, it might even be handy to be shown ad’s for a product that you have just searched for. What is the issue then, I hear you ask ask? What bothers me is when to many of these systems get connected and someone has devised a ‘script’ to connect them. An automated connect, yes. An automated script can’t ‘hear’ intonation and therefore will miss sarcasm, the joke or worse.

So, why did I write this article now?
I’ve written about this before, so why write about it again even?

Well, I still hear people say that those services are really free and when I do explain them they are not, they just don’t seem to grasp the issue. And I’m not judging that system or even trying to say that it’s a bad system, not at all, but I do think you should be aware that that system is in place and that we all feed it. There is no such thing as free if there is a multi billion dollar business growing from it, that just can’t be. All that money doesn’t just appear in their pockets or bank accounts, why would it. If it would, let me have only 0.001% of that please! But I can promise you that I won’t get that …

The issue that sparked this article today is that fact that Facebook has announced that it will start to use your browser history as well, not just the history and your data in Facebook itself, but the actual surfing history on your computer! Now that is one of those connects that I’m not a fan off, to say the least. As long as there is no (perceived) serious alternative for Facebook we will probably all keep using it, there’s no denying that, but this really does feel like an invasion of privacy. I’m a good guy, I don’t have anything to hide, but I still don’t want others to know certain things about me especially if they are going to be linked to other data by an automated system. I don’t want anyone else to know that I do like that one particular dubstep like remix of Wrecking Ball or that I have opened a certain document about a hundred times last week. Why would I?

Think about this and be ever more careful at leaving details behind for a freebie as we all know that very few things in life are truly free.


Oh, and to help you a little, bit, I came across a pretty simple article on how to delete some history buffers. This won’t keep you safe, but it might just help to keep you a little safer from the data miners, so give it as go if you want to.

Deleting Your Search History From Search Engines & Social Media Sites [Guide]

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