Polymorphous Perversity and Texts

Who Owns Your Data?

(Note: No audio.)

Who owns your data? Because we don't read lengthy End-User License Agreements we might be surprised to learn that we rarely own the data we generate as we move through online texts. In some cases, we even sign away the content we generate. We routinely trade privacy for ease of use.

The surveillance continues even when we explicitly request that it stop. Researchers at Stanford and UC Berkeley recently discovered that sites such as MSN and Hulu were using "supercookies," files stored by Web browsers to track a user's movements from site to site.

Many users leave standard cookies enabled in their browsers but more security conscious users turn them off or use third-party tools to delete them, effectively covering their own footprints. Supercookies, however, defy efforts at removal, recreating themselves from parts of other files. They are often used by advertising networks to track a user's movement from site to site in order to more effectively target ads.