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2000-10-06 00:00:00 - Latest Internet Privacy Danger - (queritmo@aol.com)


Taken from October 5 newspaper article: Devin Hosea, the 30-year old founder and president of Predictive Networks Inc. is the boyish face behind what some consider the Internet's latest threat to consumer privacy...his technology takes online surveillance to new heights. Hosea has developed software that builds digitals "silhouettes", or profiles, of Internet users, after tracking their clicks across the Web. For example, if a Web surfer visits an airline site then a Boston museum site, Predictive's model might immediately send the user a pop-up ad for a Massachusetts travel guide from Amazon.com. Predictive is being closely watched by privacy advocates because, unlike many similar software companies, it has struck deals with Internet services providers rather than individual Web sites. As a result, Predictive's software can follow users everywhere on the web, gaining insights into their ages, incomes, shopping preferences and hobbies. Andrew Shen, a policy analyst with the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington D. C. said "This is tracking virtually every move of the Internet user". Privacy experts fear Predictive's software will be widely accepted by ISPs, and later, cable companies. In seven months, the firm has signed on six ISPs... Big ISPs that have largely avoided tracking users will eventually adopt profiling technology to increase their ad revenue.