Who tracked internet users in 2021–2022

Every time you go online, someone is watching over you. The services you use, the websites you visit, the apps on your phone, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and any networked devices collect data on you with the help of trackers installed on web pages or in software. The websites and services send this data to their manufacturers and partners whose trackers they use. Companies are looking for all kinds of information on you: from device specifications to the way you are using a service, and the pages you are opening.

Data thus collected primarily helps companies, firstly, to understand their customers better and improve the products by analyzing the user experience, and, secondly, to predict user needs and possibly even manipulate them. Besides, the more an organization knows about you, the better it can personalize ads that it shows you. These ads command higher rates than random ones and therefore generate higher profits.

Understanding who is collecting the data and why requires you to have free time and to know where to look. Most services have published privacy policies, which should ideally explain in detail what data the service collects and why. Sadly, these policies are seldom transparent enough. Worried about this lack of transparency, users and privacy watchdogs put pressure on technology companies.

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Source: Kaspersky