Facebook and Google are tracking you. Your cell phone is tracking you. Your cell phone images are being uploaded without your knowledge. And that's not all, Veronique Greenwood writes in Discover: Many sites you visit are amassing information about you and selling it to advertisers. Inspired by an article in the Atlantic this week, Greenwood downloaded a Mozilla plug-in called Collusion that allowed her to track everyone who was tracking her. "The feeling of navel-gazing fascination ... morphed into a pretty deep frustration," she writes.
After an hour of browsing, Greenwood had visited 50 sites and had 50 verified trackers on her trail. Some made sense to her—like Google and Facebook—but others she'd never heard of, like advertising.com. Also, media sites were tracking her journey to other Web pages, and five sites were soon monitoring her behavior in a chatroom. What's worse, she says, you can't really "opt out" of this tracking without proper plug-ins, which few know how to use. "One of the great benefits of the Internet, for many people, has been its promise of anonymity," writes Greenwood. "To keep everything free, though, users ... may have to give that up. To me, that’s depressing." (Read more Internet advertising stories.)