As if we didn’t already have enough surveillance salad on our privacy plates…
This week, Facebook unveiled their plans to record user data and track mouse movements on an unprecedented scale as analytics chief Ken Rudin leads the charge into unknown and uncertain territory. Once implemented, the Hadoop platform will record and extrapolate the movements and motions of its nearly 700 million users worldwide. Rudin has said the data could be used for a wide range of applications, including product development, advertising, and data analytics.
As of right now, there are two different types of data that Facebook collects: demographic, and behavioral. The former is a general picture of the member’s life outside of the network; where they live, when they went to school, etc, whereas behavioral is determined by what the user does while browsing the site. Likes, friends, statuses, comments, and links are all combinated into a single metric that puts you into one of thousands of different pre-determined categories established by the site’s engineers.
Recording how long their users hover over links, how often they click on pictures, and how closely they inch toward advertisements is all precious stuff, most of which can then be turned into valuable metadata that the conglomerates go crazy for. New types of information Facebook is interested in collecting include “did your cursor hover over that ad … and was the newsfeed in a viewable area,” Mr. Rudin said.
“It is a never-ending phase. I can’t promise that it will roll out. We probably will know in a couple of months”
It’s not really a surprise that Zuck and Co. are interested in every move you make on their site. The owner has been unapologetic about his anti-piracy stance since before the site was even a glimmer in Sean Parker’s eye, but that didn’t stop millions of us from signing over every detail of our lives for the small sacrifice of staying in touch with anyone you’ve ever met. On top of that, the Facebook data center has grown at a rate of nearly a thousand times over each year for four years running, currently at 300 petabytes and still surging ahead.
To stay one step ahead of the Facebook analytics team, use services like IPVanish VPN or Express VPN and keep yourself as close to the edge of the grid as you can get before falling off. The data will be anonymized, so while you’ll still technically be browsing on your account, it will appear as a different location each time you connect. This ensures that nothing they pick up is valuable as a link to the rest of your activity, and prevents advertisers from getting a firm grip on your IP address or web usage history.