Thursday, June 21, 2012

Privacy in the Virtual World

To what extent would these online advertisement folks go?

I was working on a writing project that had to do with Finance and Insurance, more specifically, health insurance and investments. Content writing takes research and references, from books, journals and from the web. And when I had opened a page for my references, I found a couple of advertisements, one of them static on the left and the other, flashing across the monitor before it settled in its allotted spaces, one at the top and the other at the side of the page that I was visiting.

The surprising aspect was that one of the advertisements was about an investment plan, while the other was about 'health insurance'. Apparently, the advertising folks have been at work. Talk of the bull's eye! However, as an individual, I had reasons to be bothered about, with the kind of precision that on-line advertising has been able to achieve.

It would have, perhaps, been fine had the page I opened had something to do with finance, investments or insurance. But that was nothing but a humble, harmless dictionary, where I was checking out one of the correct forms of phrases to be used. To find two advertisements, one on Finance and the other on Health Insurance, when I was writing an article on Health Insurance and Investment, obviously could not be brushed aside as mere coincidence.

I could understand if it were one of Google's Advertisements within my GMail inbox, or perhaps one of them among search results, or even one of the associated advertisements in a finance journal, producing advertising messages relevant to the webpage content. But how about the exact advertisements related to the stories that I was working on, in a webpage unrelated to the subject and where the search term was not related to finance or insurance?

Yes, I would like to have related content suggested, but how would you feel if you had just been walking down a street, discussing your favourite food with your pal, and being served exactly that the very moment you enter a restaurant even before you had considered what to order?

Hello virtual world, would I have any privacy at all?