Every year Facebook and Google earn billions of dollars through advertising by tracking the data of what people constantly search on the internet.
Both tech giants track people’s search behaviour and advertise based on the collected data.
A recent study by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) found that an average European’s data is shared 376 times a day. It sometimes rises to 747 times for US-based users.
The revenue incurred from digital advertisements keeps internet services free of use.
Who is involved in tracking the information?
The real-time bidding (RTB) industry tracks all the information about the user, no matter if it is private or sensitive. More shockingly, they even monitor the location of the users.
ICCL stated that this is the biggest data breach ever to be carried out.
Where is the data shared?
The collected data is sold to several brokers who place their advertisements in real-time.
The data includes information about the device the page is loading on, the device location, and other information about the previous websites the user visited and the subject matter. The whole process takes a fraction of a second.
Can you make money through searching?
Surprisingly, there are now search engines that people are using as a medium to earn money.
The Canadian-based tech firm, Surf which launched its browser extension in 2021, works by rewarding people for surfing the internet.
Surf is still in beta testing and is limited to Canada and the US.
It bypasses the likes of Google and then sells it directly to retail brands. Surf rewards people with redeemable gift cards and discounts in return.
Brands like Foot Locker, The Body Shop, Crocs, and Dyson currently partner with Surf.
Surf states that it does not share the personal information of the users. All it asks for is the age, gender, and address, which is also optional.