How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Sends You Letters about Your Medical Condition

This is the hidden underside of the browsing experience. When you’re surfing the web, sitting alone at your computer or with your smartphone clutched in your hand, it feels private and ephemeral. You feel freed to look for the things that you’re too embarrassed or ashamed to ask another person. But increasingly, there is digital machinery at work turning your fleeting search whims into hard data trails. The mining of secrets for profit is done invisibly, shrouded in the mystery of “confidential partnerships,” “big data,” and “proprietary technology.” People in databases don’t know that dossiers are being compiled on them, let alone have the chance to correct any mistakes in them.
From How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Sends You Letters about Your Medical Condition

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