This Is the Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Seen About Internet Privacy

Internet privacy: do you know this woman?

“Do you recognize this woman? We do…”

They say privacy is dead.  Well if that’s the case, this is what they’re playing at the funeral.

Conversant is a consumer research company that tracks millions of people on the internet. Then, they package all of that data for advertisers and media companies.

Sounds pretty simple, right?

Well, here’s the company’s pitch video to major advertisers, brands, and media companies (i.e., their prospective clients).

Please note: this isn’t a joke, it’s a real video, also available on conversantmedia.com.

Of course, this is all anonymous… right?

Conversant claims that they track everything anonymously by assigning everyone a unique identifier.  Which means that you are a uniquely identifiable number, one that is constantly tracked for years.  And this is happening both online and off.  On your computer, phone, and a bunch of other devices.

Then, you’re targeted based on thousands of different data points.  That includes your consumption patterns, location, salary, and even when you go online.

Here’s how the company describes it on their site:

 “Our understanding of consumers is built from the anonymized transactional data (both online and off) of more than 4,000 retailers. And the depth and breadth of our IDs continue to grow as we observe over 80 billion online interactions every day, across every device.

“That’s millions of verified IDs. They’re completely anonymous, scrubbed of all personally identifiable information. And they last a lifetime, so your conversation with each consumer never misses a beat.”

So they know everything about you… except your name.

Or so they say.

Now here’s where the pitch gets truly scary.

This goes to an even darker place.  Because after a certain amount of data is collected, advertisers know more about you than you know about yourself.  They can actually predict what you are likely to purchase — and when — before you’ve even thought about it.  And that makes the data even more valuable.

Here’s how Conversant puts it.

“We know consumers better than they know themselves.

“We track over 1 million online actions per second to build each profile across more than 7,000 dimensions—including web browsing, app usage, video plays, email activity, cross-screen engagement, life events, hobbies, ad interactions and product interests.

“All in all, they’re the most complex consumer profiles ever built, allowing you to really get to know your customers and grow your relationship with them over their lifetime.”

Feel better now?

So how did we find this video?

Here’s where this gets even more interesting.

Conversant appears to be contracted by one of the largest YouTube stream-rippers in the world.  The site, listentoyoutube.com, lists Conversant as a partner (which led us to this video).  Which means that listentoyoutube.com is probably dropping dozens of cookies and trackers on every user.  All of which adds to the your file.

Just recently, the RIAA, IFPI, and other music industry trade organizations declared war on YouTube stream-rippers.  And part of the reason is that they’re making money off of YouTube conversions — and boosting their revenue by tracking every single user that passes through.

Because knowing your every move is worth a lot of money.

 


 

8 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Jerry

    How is this news? You can use ghostery to see how any site is tagged, and digitalmusicnews.com is tagged by Doubleclick (google advertising), Facebook pixel (facebook advertising), quantcast (provides “real-time” audience profiles, and more.

    All those tags do literally the same thing that the video you posted is talking about, except google and facebook are way scarier in how much they have on all of us. This is how the internet works.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Garfunkel

      I think you’d be surprised by the amount of people that don’t understand how online tracking works or how much information is being collected.

      Reply
  2. Avatar
    Art

    This article is baffling…….sure, this is what they do. Dropping cookies, tagging links, using that data for marketing has been the norm since the beginning of the web. Conversant has been around for a long time, not a new company…..they were even bought a few years back by an even bigger company that sells consumer data.

    Just don’t understand the constant anti-technology focus of this blog.

    Hey, got to go run out now and buy an 8-track before Strawburies closes tonight : )

    Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      I’m not sure I would have started a site called Digital Music News if I was ‘anti-technology’. But why do I have to be pegged as ‘anti-technology’ or ‘pro-technology’ in the first place?

      That’s like saying if I hate traffic jams I’m ‘anti-transportation’. There’s a lot of good, and a lot of bad to something as broad and all-encompassing as ‘transportation’ – or, ‘technology’.

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Musicservices4less

        You tell ’em Paul. You have it exactly right. And this is what the “technologists'” don’t understand. It’s somewhat like the gun policy issue in that yes, we all recognize the right to have guns (2nd Amend) but there must be a point in a society that when there are so many guns there needs to be serious regulation. It’s just common sense. Over to technology, everyone depends on it and will continue to depend on it. But not everything that is developed with technology should be totally unregulated. Here’s a suggestion. Why can’t I know my identifying number so if I want to opt out, I can? Wow, that would be hard wouldn’t it? Cost money to do wouldn’t it? Have to hire a lot of people to accomplish that, wouldn’t you? But it (data) is mine, isn’t it? So we have arrived in 1984 and the fight has begun. Can you say Evilcorp? Anonymous?

        Reply
  3. Avatar
    Russian bear pianist

    Some nuances look illegal! But this video is more like a call for help from a sinking ship. If you know everything about everyone, why do you need advertising about this?

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Nicola

    One of the best services for increasing online privacy and anonymity has been shown in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vZYBh2Q9xg

    This service is currently offering 750+ servers in 141 countries! It is very fast, reliable, trustworthy, and cost-effective. It allows you to use it on up to 5 devices simultaneously. I can recommend it to everyone!
    Make a decision now, and I’m sure you will be very satisfied with it 🙂

    Reply

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