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Web tracking is the practice by which operators of websites collect and share information about a particular user's activity on the World Wide Web. Analysis of an individual user's behaviour may be used to provide content that relates to their implied preferences.
Use of web tracking can be controversial when applied in the context of a private individual; and to varying degrees is subject to legislation such as the EU's eCommerce Directive and the UK's Data Protection Act. When it is done without the knowledge of a user, it may be considered a breach of browser security.
In a business-to-business context, understanding a visitor's behaviour in order to identify buying intentions is seen by many commercial organisations as an effective way to target marketing activities. Visiting companies can be approached, both on- and offline, with marketing and sales propositions which are relevant to their current requirements. From the point of view of a sales organisation, engaging with a potential customer when they are actively looking to buy can produce savings in otherwise wasted marketing funds.
Contrary to popular belief, browser privacy mode does not prevent (all) tracking attempts because it usually only blocks the storage of information on the visitor site (cookies). It does not help, however, against live data transmissions like the various fingerprinting methods. Such fingerprints can be easily de-anonymized.
- "Princeton Web Transparency & Accountability Project (WebTap)". Retrieved 2018-02-20.
We monitor websites and services to find out what user data companies collect, how they collect it, and what they do with it. With our measurement platform, we study privacy, security, and ethics of consumer data usage
- "OpenWPM – A privacy measurement framework". Retrieved 2018-02-20.
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