Topic 4- Has your privacy become ours?

With the web constantly evolving, it is no surprise that the way in which people can share their information online has become easier through the likes of different social networking sites (SNS) like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Most of us use these platforms to connect with our friends and colleagues, however at the same time this same information is being used by businesses to learn more about our preferences and daily life.

How would you feel if you knew you were being tracked without your consent? Violated, right? Patricia shared a video (Reveal, 2017) on Twitter, which can be seen below, that I found shockingly scary.

Ethics has been defined as the ‘moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity’ (Oxford Dictionary, 2017). Having watched the above video, do you consider what businesses are doing ethical?

There are many reasons as to why businesses use social media which will be detailed in the self-produced infographic below.

Reasons as to why businesses use social media

However at the same time, ethical issues involving businesses using our social media for their personal gain link to the privacy concerns many online users may have.  Below shows a screenshot of an article which shows how Facebook use cookies to their advantage.



In topic 2, I discussed how our digital footprints and online activities have been scattered all over the internet which in turn make up our digital identity. Therefore, due to the scope and speed of social media, it has become an effective medium through which companies market themselves and their products/services. How are they doing this, you may ask? By using Cookies.

Cookies are small pieces of data which are stored on a user’s computer. The cookie allows the website to ‘remember’ your actions or preferences over time (European Commission, 2017). They are the most common method of identifying and tracking online consumer activity, yet have been widely criticised as being a potential threat to consumer privacy (Miyazaki, 2008).


In this digital age, we have been accustomed to target advertising which is due to the fact that cookies are aiding businesses to target their market through the data they collect via third-party cookies. Furthermore, one of the more controversial topics surrounding cookies is that airlines increase their prices by using them. This article (Collinson, 2017) offers a personal experience of this happening to someone.

Online privacy continues to be a point of concern for many. Although many websites now inform users that cookies are being used (example seen below), the issue of users’ personal information being distributed during their browsing experience, still remains at the heart of controversy.


At the same time, most browsers have settings, which allow you to establish your preferences for cookies, allowing you to delete or block them from your computer (Norton, 2017).

Word count: 440


Anthony D. Miyazaki (2008) Online Privacy and the Disclosure of Cookie Use: Effects on Consumer Trust and Anticipated Patronage. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing: Spring 2008, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 19-33.

Collinson, P. (2017). Beware the cookies: they can cost you money. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 22 Mar. 2017].

 Copp, E. (2017). 10 Benefits of Social Media for Business. [online] Hootsuite Social Media Management. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

European Commission, (2017). Cookies – European commission. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].

Liu, Y. (2017). The Pros and Cons of Cookies: A Google Story – Internet Marketing Inc. [online] Internet Marketing Inc. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Oxford Dictionary, (2017). ethics – definition of ethics in English | Oxford Dictionaries. [online] Oxford Dictionaries | English. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Norton, (2017). Cookies and Your Online Privacy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Reveal, (2017). Hot on Your Trail: Privacy, Your Data, and Who Has Access to It. [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].

Toor, A. (2017). Facebook begins tracking non-users around the internet. [online] The Verge. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar. 2017].


8 thoughts on “Topic 4- Has your privacy become ours?

  1. Great blog Carolina!

    I was fully engaged throughout and found out a lot of information that I didn’t know before such as webmasters being able to gain very personal information such as passwords and bank details through the use of cookies.

    The video was also helpful as you learnt all of the different ways that people can not only gain your information, but even more scarcely, track your location and your physical activity too. Since finding out all of this information have you now changed anything about how you browse online?

    It is evident that privacy is becoming a huge issue for the internet. One podcast suggested that in the future, we could all potentially move to the ‘darkweb’, where nobody is able to track our digital footprints. Although the ‘darkweb’ currently has a lot of negative connotations, it could potentially be the saviour to all privacy concerns. – link to podcast.


    Words: 155


    1. Hi Alex,

      Thank you for your lovely comments! When I watched the video I was very surprised to learn how easy it is for business corporations or almost anyone to access our personal information. As a result, it actually has prompted me to change many things about how I browse online. For example, I do not link my contacts on my phone with my email. I also use incognito to browse online when looking for flights. However, having researched more around the idea, there has been doubts as to whether browsing in incognito actually works. Yet at the same time, in the article I have attached below, Hoeller (2015) suggests that if you clear your cookies it makes flights cheaper the next time you search for them. Did the video influence you to change the way you currently browse online?

      Although the dark web enables online criminal activity, I also appreciate that the dark web has many legitimate uses such as privacy. However, I am not sure as to whether it can be ‘saviour to all privacy concerns’ when serious issues like paedophilia and the sharing of pictures of child abuse still exist online.


      Link to article-

      Hoeller, S. (2017). This is the one thing you should do when searching for flights online. [online] Business Insider. Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].


      1. Thanks for replying!

        Although the video taught me a lot, I feel as though it is very difficult to actually stop any of this from happening. For instance I use Google Maps as a SatNav, it would be ridiculous to cover my face every time I enter a new store and if I want to prevent the disadvantages of cookies I either have to be advanced in computing or stop using the internet – which is a ridiculous conclusion in today’s digital age. I’ll definitely be clearing my cookies for them cheaper flights though!

        That is true that Paedophilia and pictures of Child Abuse are on the Dark Net, but an expert in the field Alex Winter states that there is twice as much on the normal web (Winter, 2015). We may never be able to stop such disgusting activity but we are able to stop the horrendous privacy issues with this solution.


        Winter, A. (2015). The Dark Net isn’t what you think. It’s actually key to our privacy | Alex Winter | TEDxMidAtlantic. [online] YouTube. Available at: [Accessed 24 Apr. 2017].

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Carolina!
    I thought your blog was very well written and very engaging! I especially thought that your video allowed me to see things very differently and opened my eyes to the way we use the internet. After watching it, do you think you browse differently?
    According to Silktide ( the laws in 2011 prevented websites from using tracking without asking permission, do you think this is necessary? Personally I feel that tracking users is mainly negative and can be potentially dangerous. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Ps sorry for the link, couldn’t get hyperlink to work!


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