When was the last time you deleted your cookies?

NPR’s Fresh Air featured this report about one of the fastest-growing online businesses: the business of spying on you.

Nearly all of the most commonly visited websites install invisible tracking software on your computer so the information can be sold to advertisers. Julia Angwin, who recently led a team of Wall Street Journal reporters investigating the practice, explains what companies do with the information — and how you can protect your privacy online.

One of the most surprising aspects of this story for me was that many of the websites that leave tracking software on your computer do so without the site owner’s knowledge. So I just did something I haven’t done in a long time. I deleted my cookies. While I was there I noticed that DistortedSoul.com, my own website, had left a cookie on my computer. Most likely it just left one on yours as well.

Where did it come from? I do not know, but I’ll find out and let you know.

But most sites leave a cookie. Facebook, Google, and Dictionary.com also drop a cookie into your site. Some cookies remember our usernames and passwords so we don’t have to. Most of these sites only want to find better ways to sell you stuff.

Is all this spying dangerous? Or just spooky? Or is it convenient that companies will show you ads based on the content of your private emails?

Check out this story and let us know what you think…

Listen to or Read: Tracking The Companies That Track You Online

Blues Talkin'

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